n Cardiovascular Journal of South Africa - Cardiac involvement in HIV-infected people living in Africa : a review : review article

Volume 14, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1680-0745



The primary objective of this study was to review and summarise the literature on the spectrum and management of cardiac disease in HIV-infected people living in Africa. We searched MEDLINE (January 1980 to February 2003), reference lists of papers, and reviews on the subject, and contacted experts working in the field for information on relevant references. The review was limited to papers that were published in peer-reviewed journals and indexed on MEDLINE. Seventeen of the 21 studies identified met the inclusion criteria for analysis. <br>The studies confirmed that cardiac abnormalities are more common in HIV-infected people, compared to normal controls, and that about half of hospitalised patients and a significant proportion of patients followed up over several years develop cardiac abnormalities. The commonest HIV-related cardiac abnormalities were cardiomyopathy and pericardial disease. Tuberculosis was the major cause of large pericardial effusion in Africa. Myocarditis was the commonest pathological abnormality in HIV-associated cardiomyopathy, and non-viral opportunistic infections such as toxoplasmosis and cryptococcosis may account for up to 50% of cases of HIV-associated cardiomyopathy in Africa. <br>Echocardiography is indicated in HIV-positive patients with cardiac symptoms or signs. If cardiomyopathy or pericardial disease is identified, further investigation must be considered to exclude potentially treatable opportunistic infections. Further research in large numbers of patients is needed to determine the value of endomyocardial biopsy in the management of patients with HIV-associated cardiomyopathy, and to establish the place of adjuvant steroids in the treatment of HIV-associated tuberculous pericarditis.

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