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Circulation. 2013 Aug 20;128(8):814-22. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.001719. Epub 2013 Jul 1.

Comprehensive cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy reveal a high burden of myocardial disease in HIV patients.

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Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.



HIV infection continues to be endemic worldwide. Although treatments are successful, it remains controversial whether patients receiving optimal therapy have structural, functional, or biochemical cardiac abnormalities that may underlie their increased cardiac morbidity and mortality. The purpose of this study was to characterize myocardial abnormalities in a contemporary group of HIV-infected individuals undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy.


Volunteers with HIV who were undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy and age-matched control subjects without a history of cardiovascular disease underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy for the determination of cardiac function, myocardial fibrosis, and myocardial lipid content. A total of 129 participants were included in this analysis. Compared with age-matched control subjects (n=39; 30.23%), HIV-infected subjects undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy (n=90; 69.77%) had 47% higher median myocardial lipid levels (P <0.003) and 74% higher median plasma triglyceride levels (both P<0.001). Myocardial fibrosis, predominantly in the basal inferolateral wall of the left ventricle, was observed in 76% of HIV-infected subjects compared with 13% of control subjects (P<0.001). Peak myocardial systolic and diastolic longitudinal strain were also lower in HIV-infected individuals than in control subjects and remained statistically significant after adjustment for available confounders.


Comprehensive cardiac imaging revealed cardiac steatosis, alterations in cardiac function, and a high prevalence of myocardial fibrosis in a contemporary group of asymptomatic HIV-infected subjects undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy. Cardiac steatosis and fibrosis may underlie cardiac dysfunction and increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in subjects with HIV.


HIV-1; fibrosis; heart function tests; imaging, diagnostic; myocardial fibrosis

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