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Cardiovascular complications and atherosclerotic manifestations in the HIV-infected population: type, incidence and associated risk factors

Boccara, Franck

doi: 10.1097/01.aids.0000327512.76126.6e

Before the introduction of successful antiretroviral therapy (ART), cardiovascular complications in HIV-infected patients were largely those resulting from immunosuppression (e.g. myocarditis, pericarditis, tamponade). With the advent of ART, there has been a spectacular decrease in morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected individuals. However, alongside metabolic complications caused by ART such as insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and lipodystrophy syndrome have been observed, which potentially increase the risk of cardiovascular complications, in particular coronary artery disease. Whether HIV infection and ART are independent and individual coronary risk factors is still controversial. More and more data are available demonstrating that increasing the duration of exposure to ART, and in particular protease inhibitors, increases the risk of myocardial infarction. At the same time, chronic infection, inflammation and the disruption of immune balance as a result of HIV infection itself may have the potential to alter vascular structure and function. In this article, we will review cardiovascular complications in HIV-infected patients before and after the advent of ART, focusing on coronary artery disease, its diagnosis, prognosis and therapy.

Author Information

Cardiology Department, Saint-Antoine University Hospital, Pierre et Marie Curie University, Paris, France.

Correspondence to Franck Boccara, Cardiology Department, Saint-Antoine University Hospital, 184 rue du Faubourg St-Antoine, 75012 Paris, France. E-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.