Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Pericardial effusion of HIV-infected patients ? Results of a prospective multicenter cohort study in the era of antiretroviral therapy.

BACKGROUND: Patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Previous publications described pericardial effusion as one of the most common HIV-associated cardiac affiliations. The aim of the current study was to investigate if pericardial effusion still has a relevant meaning of HIV-infected patients in the era of antiretroviral therapy.

METHODS: The HIV-HEART (HIV-infection and HEART disease) study is a cardiology driven, prospective and multicenter cohort study. Outpatients with a known HIV-infection were recruited during a 20-month period in a consecutive manner from September 2004 to May 2006. The study comprehend classic parameters of HIV-infection, comprising CD4-cell count (cluster of differentiation) and virus load, as well as non-invasive tests of cardiac diseases, including a thorough transthoracic echocardiography.

RESULTS: 802 HIV-infected patients (female: 16.6%) with a mean age of 44.2 ± 10.3 years, were included. Duration of HIV-infection since initial diagnosis was 7.6 ± 5.8 years. Of all participants, 85.2% received antiretroviral therapy. Virus load was detectable in 34.4% and CD4 - cell count was in 12.4% less than 200 cells/μl. Pericardial effusions were present in only two patients of the analysed population. None of the participants had signs of a relevant cardiovascular impairment by pericardial effusion.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that the era of antiretroviral therapy goes along with low rates of pericardial effusions in HIV-infected outpatients. Our findings are in contrast to the results of publications, performed before the common use of antiretroviral therapy.

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