People living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have a higher risk of sudden cardiac death than people without a proper diagnosis. Especially in cases where the virus is poorly controlled or if patients are at risk of other heart disease. This is stated in a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
It has long been known that people living with HIV have a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, blood clots in the lungs and peripheral arterial disease, says Matthew S. Freiberg, M.D. and professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. in Nashville, Tennessee. “We know that people with HIV, as well as people with weakened immune systems, such as those with a low total CD4 + T lymphocyte count, have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those with high CD4 + T lymphocyte counts. But until now it was not clear whether a weakened immune system is a risk factor for sudden cardiac death. ”
Sudden cardiac death occurs when a person’s heart suddenly stops beating (usually due to a sudden failure in electrical impulses), which interferes with blood flow to the brain and vital organs. And this, in turn, leads to death within a few minutes in the absence of medical care.
A previous study of 2,800 people from a San Francisco HIV clinic in 2012 found that the incidence of sudden cardiac death in people with HIV is four times higher. The current study examined the national rate of sudden cardiac death, as well as the effect of HIV viral load and other heart disease risk factors on the risk of sudden cardiac death.
Scientists assessed the status of participants in a national study – people with HIV infection and a group of patients without HIV – the Veterans of Aging Cohort Study (VACS).
The VACS is an ongoing long-term national survey of veterans with and without HIV (two uninfected for each infected participant), matched by age, sex, race / ethnicity, place of residence and institution where they receive care. The study explores the role of HIV and disease status, as well as other health conditions.
Over the course of nine years, sudden cardiac death was identified as the cause of death for 3,035 veterans, 26% (777) of whom were HIV-positive.
After adjusting for a variety of factors, including age, gender, race / ethnicity, presence of heart or kidney disease, cocaine or alcohol dependence or abuse, and various risk factors for heart disease, an analysis of the risk of sudden cardiac death showed that levels:
- “Not higher than people with HIV who had healthy levels of infection-fighting CD4 + T cells, or those who had low levels of the HIV virus in their blood.
- Increases progressively with every risk factor for sudden cardiac death present, including existing cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, smoking, hepatitis C infection, anemia, alcohol dependence or abuse, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, whether or not they have had HIV.
- 14% higher in people with HIV.
- 57% higher in people with HIV, whose blood tests show low CD4 + T cell counts over time, indicating HIV progression and a weakened immune system.
- 70% higher in people with HIV, whose blood tests showed that antiretroviral therapy did not suppress the HIV viral load in their blood over time.