People living with HIV may face a greater chance of suffering a heart attack,
a new study indicates.
Researchers looked at data on more than 82 000 US veterans, and found that
there were 871 heart attacks in this group over a median follow-up of 5.9 years.
The investigators also found that HIV-positive people had a "consistently and
significantly higher" risk of heart attack across three decades of their
Among the veterans, heart attack events per 1 000 people per year were: at
ages 40 to 49, 2.0 for those with HIV and 1.5 for those who did not have HIV; at
ages 50 to 59, 3.9 for those with HIV versus 2.2 for those without HIV; at ages
60 to 69, 5.0 for those with HIV versus 3.3 for those without HIV.
What the study found
After accounting for other risk factors, the researchers calculated that
people with HIV have an overall 48% increased risk of heart attack.
The findings may not be applicable to women because the patients included in
the study were overwhelmingly male, study author Dr Matthew Freiberg, from the
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues noted in a journal
The success of antiretroviral therapy means that HIV-infected people are
living longer, and are now at greater risk for heart disease, the authors
While the study found an association between HIV and increased risk of heart
attack in the veterans, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
However, the findings show "a clear and consistent excess risk" of heart
attack in HIV-positive people across a range of age groups, Patrick Mallon, from
the University College Dublin in Ireland, wrote in an accompanying commentary.
He added that further research is needed to learn more about the causes of this
increased risk and how to reduce it.
The American Heart Association has more about HIV
and the heart.