NYMC Faculty Publications

Coronary Artery Disease in Patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

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Journal of Nuclear Cardiology : official publication of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology

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Review Article

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The life expectancy of people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is rising due to better access to combination anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Although ART has reduced acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) related mortality and morbidity, there has been an increase in non-AIDS defining illnesses such as diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia and coronary artery disease (CAD). HIV is a disease marked by inflammation which has been associated with specific biological vascular processes increasing the risk of premature atherosclerosis. The combination of pre-existing risk factors, atherosclerosis, ART, opportunistic infections and coagulopathy contributes to rising CAD incidence. The prevalence of CAD has emerged as a major contributor of morbidity in these patients due to longer life expectancy. However, ART has been associated with lipodystrophy, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus and CAD. These adverse effects, along with drug-drug interactions when ART is combined with cardiovascular drugs, result in significant challenges in the care of this group of patients. Exercise tolerance testing, echocardiography, myocardial perfusion imaging, coronary computed tomography angiography and magnetic resonance imaging help in the diagnosis of CAD and heart failure and help predict cardiovascular outcomes in a manner similar to non-infected individuals. This review will highlight the pathogenesis and factors that link HIV to CAD, presentation and treatment of HIV-patients presenting with CAD and review briefly the cardiac imaging modalities used to identify this entity and help prognosticate future outcomes.