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Original article

Increased arterial stiffness in HIV-infected children: risk factors and antiretroviral therapy

Marietta Charakida, Stavros P Loukogeorgakis, Michael I Okorie, Stefano Masi, Julian P Halcox, John E Deanfield, Nigel J Klein

Corresponding author name: Marietta Charakida
Corresponding author e-mail: charakidadoc@gmail.com

Citation: Antiviral Therapy 2009; 14:1075-1079
doi: 10.3851/IMP1437

Date accepted: 06 July 2009
Date published online: 25 November 2009


Background: Recent evidence suggests that both the HIV virus and antiretroviral therapy (ART) are associated with premature atherosclerosis in adults. Increased arterial stiffness as assessed by pulse wave velocity (PWV) has been associated with adverse cardiovascular outcome in adults. The relationship between HIV infection and treatment and arterial stiffness has not been evaluated in children.

Methods: We studied 83 HIV-infected children with a mean ±sd age of 11.0 ±3.1 years and 59 controls aged 12.2 ±2.8 years. Among the HIV-infected children, 48 were receiving ART (23 including a protease inhibitor). Arterial stiffness was assessed non-invasively by carotid–radial PWV. Disease severity was defined according to the CDC classification.

Results: PWV was significantly increased in HIV-infected children compared with controls (P<0.05). A significant association between age and PWV was noted in HIV-infected children but not in controls. HIV-infected children receiving ART had significantly increased total cholesterol levels and PWV compared with non-treated children (P<0.001 and P<0.05, respectively). CDC stage was greater in ART-treated compared with non-treated HIV-infected children (P<0.001). No differences in other cardiovascular risk factors were noted in the two groups. After multivariable analysis, ART, systolic blood pressure, disease severity and total cholesterol remained independent predictors of PWV.

Conclusions: HIV-infected children have increased arterial stiffness compared with healthy children. These changes were more pronounced with increasing age in HIV-infected children particularly in those who were receiving ART.


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