Structural echocardiographic abnormalities seen in HIV/AIDS patients are independent of CD4 count
Introduction: The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection remains one of the most daunting public health challenges today. Cardiac involvement in HIV/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is frequent and has been recognized on autopsy since the emergence of the pandemic. The objective of the study was to assess the pattern of structural echocardiographic (echo) findings in HIV/AIDS patients and compare this to the echo findings in apparently healthy HIV-negative controls.
Materials and Methods: One hundred and fifty HIVpositive patients were recruited consecutively from the HIV patients attending the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, North Central, Nigeria. One hundred and fifty age- and sex-matched controls were also recruited from the surrounding community. All the individuals had clinical examination, electrocardiography (ECG) and echocardiography (echo) done.
Results: ECG abnormalities were seen in 55.3% of the HIV-positive patients compared with 2.7% of controls (P < 0.001). The overall prevalence of echo abnormalities among the patients was 54%, against 15.3% (P < 0.001) of the controls. All the structural dimensions of the cardiac chambers were significantly greater than the cardiac chamber dimensions in the controls except for left atrial dimension (LAD). When the patients were considered in two groups of those with CD4 count less than 200 cells/mm3 than those with CD4 count more than 200 cells/mm3, the structural chamber dimensions were similar between both groups.
Conclusions: Echo is an important tool for detecting cardiac abnormalities in HIV/AIDS patients. There is a high prevalence of echo abnormalities among HIV patients seen in our centre. The HIV infection was associated with increased structural dimensions of cardiac chambers compared with HIV-negative controls. This however did not seem to be related to disease severity as the chamber dimensions were similar between those with CD4 count below and above 200 cells/mm3.
Keywords: Echocardiography, CD4 count, human immunodeficiency virus/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome