The last decade has witnessed major advances in our understanding of the epidemiology and pathophysiology of HIV-related cardiovascular disease in sub-Saharan Africa. In this review, we summarise these and discuss clinically relevant advances in diagnosis and treatment. In the Heart of Soweto Study, 10% of patients with newly diagnosed cardiovascular disease were HIV positive, and the most common HIV-related presentations were cardiomyopathy (38%), pericardial disease (13%) and pulmonary arterial hypertension (8%). HIV-related cardiomyopathy is more common with increased immunosuppression and HIV viraemia. With adequate antiretroviral therapy, the prevalence is low. Contributing factors such as malnutrition and genetic predisposition are under investigation. In other settings, pericardial disease is the most common presentation of HIV-related cardiovascular disease (over 40%), and over 90% of pericardial effusions are due to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) pericarditis. HIV-associated TB pericarditis is associated with a greater prevalence of myopericarditis, a lower rate of progression to constriction, and markedly increased mortality. The role of steroids is currently under investigation in the form of a randomised controlled trial. HIV-associated pulmonary hypertension is significantly more common in sub-Saharan Africa than in developed countries, possibly as a result of interactions between HIV and other infectious agents, with very limited treatment options. It has recently been recognised that patients with HIV are at increased risk of sudden death. Infection with HIV is independently associated with QT prolongation, which is more marked with hepatitis C co-infection and associated with a 4.5-fold higher than expected rate of sudden death. The contribution of coronary disease to the overall burden of HIV-associated cardiovascular disease is still low in sub-Saharan Africa.
- PERICARDIAL DISEASE
- AORTA, GREAT VESSELS AND TRAUMA