'HIV-infected' patients with normal blood pressure, who are on certain anti-virus drugs, are more likely to have a high level of arterial stiffness that is similar to otherwise healthy patients with high blood pressure, reports a paper online in the American Journal of Hypertension. The effects may not be severe enough to halt therapy and the research does not establish a causative link.
Previous studies have shown that HIV patients treated with highly active retroviral therapy (HAART), which is commonly used to treat for HIV infection, had a greater degree of arterial stiffness than those HIV infected patients who were not treated with HAART. Arterial stiffness has been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with high blood pressure. The current study by Ignatios Ikonomidis and colleagues provides an important perspective for understanding the link between HIV infection, HAART use, and the premature development of cardiovascular disease that occurs in HIV-infected patients, even when their blood pressure is in the normal range.
HAART treatment is used in patients with more severe manifestations of HIV infection. Therefore, the authors cautioned that the design of their study does not permit them to conclude whether the higher level of arterial stiffness during HAART treatment was related to HAART use or to other effects that may be related to HIV disease severity or its duration.
Ignatios Ikonomidis (University of Athens, Greece)
(C) American Journal of Hypertension press release.
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