mercredi, mai 09, 2007

HIV – heartless in more than one way…

American researchers are claiming that patients who are HIV seropositive run an increased risk of myocardial infarction (MI). When compared with people who are seronegative, they appear to have double the level of risk. And in the case of women, as much as three times the risk.

Professor Steven Grinspoon and his team at the Massachusetts General Hospital studied the files of more than 1.7 million patients admitted to the hospital since 1993. Of these, 4,000 were HIV seropositive. The aim was to identify a possible link between the infection and the occurrence of cardiovascular complications.

Their findings are conclusive. People carrying the AIDS virus are “at double the risk of suffering a myocardial infarction as are those who are seronegative”. And where women are concerned, “the occurrence of a cardiac crisis proved to be three times more common than average”.

Implicated are the “metabolic anomalies” firmly linked to HIV infection, but above all the taking of antiretroviral drugs. These are heavy treatments which in many patients lead to serious secondary effects: changes in levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, arterial hypertension, type 2 diabetes and disruption of fat distribution in the body… This situation had already been known about for some years. However, the repercussions for the risk of cardiac disease were less clearly established.

This data is grist to the mill for medical practitioners – and patients’ associations – who have been trying to draw attention to this problem. Professor Grinspoon himself goes on to stress the urgency “of developing targeted strategies to reduce cardiovascular risks in patients infected by the AIDS virus”.
(source: l'Association de la Presse Panafricaine)