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1.  Kidney and liver organ transplantation in persons with human immunodeficiency virus 
Executive Summary
The objective of this analysis is to determine the effectiveness of solid organ transplantation in persons with end stage organ failure (ESOF) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV+)
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Patients with end stage organ failure who have been unresponsive to other forms of treatment eventually require solid organ transplantation. Similar to persons who are HIV negative (HIV−), persons living with HIV infection (HIV+) are at risk for ESOF from viral (e.g. hepatitis B and C) and non-viral aetiologies (e.g. coronary artery disease, diabetes, hepatocellular carcinoma). Additionally, HIV+ persons also incur risks of ESOF from HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN), accelerated liver damage from hepatitis C virus (HCV+), with which an estimated 30% of HIV positive (HIV+) persons are co-infected, and coronary artery disease secondary to antiretroviral therapy. Concerns that the need for post transplant immunosuppression and/or the interaction of immunosuppressive drugs with antiretroviral agents may accelerate the progression of HIV disease, as well as the risk of opportunistic infections post transplantation, have led to uncertainty regarding the overall benefit of transplantation among HIV+ patients. Moreover, the scarcity of donor organs and their use in a population where the clinical benefit of transplantation is uncertain has limited the availability of organ transplantation to persons living with ESOF and HIV.
With the development of highly active anti retroviral therapy (HAART), which has been available in Canada since 1997, there has been improved survival and health-related quality of life for persons living with HIV. HAART can suppress HIV replication, enhance immune function, and slow disease progression. HAART managed persons can now be expected to live longer than those in the pre-HAART era and as a result many will now experience ESOF well before they experience life-threatening conditions related to HIV infection. Given their improved prognosis and the burden of illness they may experience from ESOF, the benefit of solid organ transplantation for HIV+ patients needs to be reassessed.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
Research Questions
What are the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of solid organ transplantation in HIV+ persons with ESOF?
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on September 22, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 1996 to September 22, 2009.
Inclusion Criteria
Systematic review with or without a Meta analysis, RCT, Non-RCT with controls
HIV+ population undergoing solid organ transplantation
HIV+ population managed with HAART therapy
Controls include persons undergoing solid organ transplantation who are i) HIV− ii) HCV+ mono-infected, and iii) HIV+ persons with ESOF not transplanted.
Studies that completed and reported results of a Kaplan-Meier Survival Curve analysis.
Studies with a minimum (mean or medium) follow up of 1-year.
English language citations
Exclusion Criteria
Case reports and case series were excluded form this review.
Outcomes of Interest
i) Risk of Death after transplantation
ii) Death censored graft survival (DCGS)
iii) HIV disease progression defined as the post transplant incidence of:
- opportunistic infections or neoplasms,
- CD4+ T-cell count < 200mm3, and
- any detectable level of plasma HIV viral load.
iv) Acute graft rejection,
v) Return to dialysis,
vi) Recurrence of HCV infection
Summary of Findings
No direct evidence comparing an HIV+ cohort undergoing transplantation with the same not undergoing transplantation (wait list) was found in the literature search.
The results of this review are reported for the following comparison cohorts undergoing transplantation:
i) Kidney Transplantation: HIV+ cohort compared with HIV− cohort
ii) Liver Transplantation: HIV+ cohort compared with HIV− negative cohort
iii) Liver Transplantation: HIV+ HCV+ (co-infected) cohort compared with HCV+ (mono-infected) cohort
Kidney Transplantation: HIV+ vs. HIV−
Based on a pooled HIV+ cohort sample size of 285 patients across four studies, the risk of death after kidney transplantation in an HIV+ cohort does not differ to that of an HIV− cohort [hazard ratio (HR): 0.90; 95% CI: 0.36, 2.23]. The quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Death censored graft survival was reported in one study with an HIV+ cohort sample size of 100, and was statistically significantly different (p=.03) to that in the HIV− cohort (n=36,492). However, the quality of evidence supporting this outcome was determined to be very low. There was also uncertainty in the rate of return to dialysis after kidney transplantation in both the HIV+ and HIV− groups and the effect, if any, this may have on patient survival. Because of the very low quality evidence rating, the effect of kidney transplantation on HIV-disease progression is uncertain.
The rate of acute graft rejection was determined using the data from one study. There was a nonsignificant difference between the HIV+ and HIV− cohorts (OR 0.13; 95% CI: 0.01, 2.64), although again, because of very low quality evidence there is uncertainty in this estimate of effect.
Liver Transplantation: HIV+ vs. HIV−
Based on a combined HIV+ cohort sample size of 198 patient across five studies, the risk of death after liver transplantation in an HIV+ cohort (with at least 50% of the cohort co-infected with HCV+) is statistically significantly 64% greater compared with an HIV− cohort (HR: 1.64; 95% CI: 1.32, 2.02). The quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Death censored graft survival was reported for an HIV+ cohort in one study (n=11) however the DCGS rate of the contemporaneous control HIV− cohort was not reported. Because of sparse data the quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low indicating death censored graft survival is uncertain.
Both the CD4+ T-cell count and HIV viral load appear controlled post transplant with an incidence of opportunistic infection of 20.5%. However, the quality of this evidence for these outcomes is very low indicating uncertainty in these effects. Similarly, because of very low quality evidence there is uncertainty in the rate of acute graft rejection among both the HIV+ and HIV− groups
Liver Transplantation: HIV+/HCV+ vs. HCV+
Based on a combined HIV+/HCV+ cohort sample size of 156 from seven studies, the risk of death after liver transplantation is significantly greater (2.8 fold) in a co-infected cohort compared with an HCV+ mono-infected cohort (HR: 2.81; 95% CI: 1.47, 5.37). The quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low. Death censored graft survival evidence was not available.
Regarding disease progression, based on a combined sample size of 71 persons in the co-infected cohort, the CD4+ T-cell count and HIV viral load appear controlled post transplant; however, again the quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low. The rate of opportunistic infection in the co-infected cohort was 7.2%. The quality of evidence supporting this estimate is very low, indicating uncertainty in these estimates of effect.
Based on a combined HIV+/HCV+ cohort (n=57) the rate of acute graft rejection does not differ to that of an HCV+ mono-infected cohort (OR: 0.88; 95% CI: 0.44, 1.76). Also based on a combined HIV+/HCV+ cohort (n=83), the rate of HCV+ recurrence does not differ to that of an HCV+ mono-infected cohort (OR: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.27, 1.59). In both cases, the quality of the supporting evidence was very low.
Overall, because of very low quality evidence there is uncertainty in the effect of kidney or liver transplantation in HIV+ persons with end stage organ failure compared with those not infected with HIV. Examining the economics of this issue, the cost of kidney and liver transplants in an HIV+ patient population are, on average, 56K and 147K per case, based on both Canadian and American experiences.
PMCID: PMC3377507  PMID: 23074407
2.  Impaired Hepatitis C Virus-Specific T Cell Responses and Recurrent Hepatitis C Virus in HIV Coinfection 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e492.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific T cell responses are critical for spontaneous resolution of HCV viremia. Here we examined the effect of a lymphotropic virus, HIV-1, on the ability of coinfected patients to maintain spontaneous control of HCV infection.
Methods and Findings
We measured T cell responsiveness by lymphoproliferation and interferon-γ ELISPOT in a large cohort of HCV-infected individuals with and without HIV infection. Among 47 HCV/HIV-1-coinfected individuals, spontaneous control of HCV was associated with more frequent HCV-specific lymphoproliferative (LP) responses (35%) compared to coinfected persons who exhibited chronic HCV viremia (7%, p = 0.016), but less frequent compared to HCV controllers who were not HIV infected (86%, p = 0.003). Preservation of HCV-specific LP responses in coinfected individuals was associated with a higher nadir CD4 count (r2 = 0.45, p < 0.001) and the presence and magnitude of the HCV-specific CD8+ T cell interferon-γ response (p = 0.0014). During long-term follow-up, recurrence of HCV viremia occurred in six of 25 coinfected individuals with prior control of HCV, but in 0 of 16 HIV-1-negative HCV controllers (p = 0.03, log rank test). In these six individuals with recurrent HCV viremia, the magnitude of HCV viremia following recurrence inversely correlated with the CD4 count at time of breakthrough (r = −0.94, p = 0.017).
These results indicate that HIV infection impairs the immune response to HCV—including in persons who have cleared HCV infection—and that HIV-1-infected individuals with spontaneous control of HCV remain at significant risk for a second episode of HCV viremia. These findings highlight the need for repeat viral RNA testing of apparent controllers of HCV infection in the setting of HIV-1 coinfection and provide a possible explanation for the higher rate of HCV persistence observed in this population.
HIV infection impairs the immune response to HCV. Even individuals who have cleared HCV infection remain at significant risk for a second episode of HCV viremia.
Editors' Summary
Because of shared transmission routes (contaminated needles, contaminated blood products, and, to a lesser extent, unprotected sex), a large proportion of HIV-infected individuals (estimates range between 25% and 33%) are also infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). In most but not all individuals infected with HCV, the virus infection is chronic and causes liver disease that can eventually lead to liver failure. Disease progress is slow; it often takes decades until infected individuals develop serious liver disease. In people infected with both HCV and HIV, however, liver disease caused by HCV often appears sooner and progresses faster. As highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and prophylaxis of opportunistic infections increase the life span of persons living with HIV, HCV-related liver disease has become a major cause of hospital admissions and deaths among HIV-infected persons.
Why Was This Study Done?
A sizable minority of people who are infected with HCV manage to control the virus and never get liver disease, and scientists have found that these people somehow mounted a strong immune response against the hepatitis C virus. CD4+ T cells, the very immune cells that are infected and destroyed by HIV, play an important role in this immune response. The goal of the present study was to better understand how infection with HIV compromises the specific immune response to HCV and thereby the control of HCV disease progression.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited four groups of patients, 94 in total, all of whom were infected with HCV. Two groups comprised patients who were infected with HIV as well as HCV, with either high or undetectable levels of HCV (30 patients in each group). The two other groups included patients not infected with HIV, either with high or undetectable levels of HCV (17 patients in each group). The researchers focused on the individuals who, despite coinfection with HIV, were able to control their HCV infection. They found that those individuals managed to maintain relatively high levels of CD4+ T cells that specifically recognize HCV. However, a quarter of these patients (six out of 25) failed to keep HCV levels down for the entire observation period of up to 2.5 years; their blood levels of HCV rose substantially, most likely due to recurrence of the previously suppressed virus (the researchers could not be certain that none of the patients had become infected again after a new exposure to HCV-contaminated blood, but there was no evidence that they had engaged in risky behavior). The rise of HCV levels in the blood of the relapsed patients coincided with a drop in overall CD4+ T cell numbers. Following relapse in these individuals, HCV did not return to undetectable levels during the study. During the same period none of the 16 HIV-uninfected people with controlled HCV infection experienced a recurrence of detectable HCV.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Despite the relatively small numbers of patients, these results suggest that recurrence of HCV after initial control of the virus is more likely in people who are coinfected with HIV, and that HCV control is lost when CD4+ T cell counts fall. This is one more reason to test all HIV-positive patients for HCV coinfection. Coinfected patients, even those who seem to be controlling HCV and would not automatically receive HCV treatment, should be regularly tested for a rise of HCV levels. In addition, maintaining CD4+ T cells at a high level might be particularly important for those patients, which means that doctors might consider starting HAART therapy earlier than is generally recommended for HIV-infected individuals. Additional studies are needed to support these recommendations, however, especially as this study did not follow the patients long enough to determine the consequences of the observed loss of control of HCV.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
AIDS Treatment Data Network factsheet on HIV/HCV coinfection
US CDC factsheet on HIV/HCV coinfection
American Liver Foundation, information on HIV and HCV
MedlinePlus pages on HCV
PMCID: PMC1705826  PMID: 17194190
3.  Renal Function and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in General Populations: New Prospective Study and Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(9):e270.
End-stage chronic kidney disease is associated with striking excesses of cardiovascular mortality, but it is uncertain to what extent renal function is related to risk of subsequent coronary heart disease (CHD) in apparently healthy adults. This study aims to quantify the association of markers of renal function with CHD risk in essentially general populations.
Methods and Findings
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was calculated using standard prediction equations based on serum creatinine measurements made in 2,007 patients diagnosed with nonfatal myocardial infarction or coronary death during follow-up and in 3,869 people without CHD in the Reykjavik population-based cohort of 18,569 individuals. There were small and nonsignificant odds ratios (ORs) for CHD risk over most of the range in eGFR, except in the lowest category of the lowest fifth (corresponding to values of <60 ml/min/1.73m2), in which the OR was 1.33 (95% confidence interval 1.01–1.75) after adjustment for several established cardiovascular risk factors. Findings from the Reykjavik study were reinforced by a meta-analysis of six previous reports (identified in electronic and other databases) involving a total of 4,720 incident CHD cases (including Reykjavik), which yielded a combined risk ratio of 1.41 (95% confidence interval 1.19–1.68) in individuals with baseline eGFR less than 60 ml/min/1.73m2 compared with those with higher values.
Although there are no strong associations between lower-than-average eGFR and CHD risk in apparently healthy adults over most of the range in renal function, there may be a moderate increase in CHD risk associated with very low eGFR (i.e., renal dysfunction) in the general population. These findings could have implications for the further understanding of CHD and targeting cardioprotective interventions.
John Danesh and colleagues conclude there may be a moderate increase in risk of coronary heart disease associated with very low estimated glomerular filtration rate.
Editors' Summary
Coronary heart disease (CHD), the leading cause of death in most Western countries, is a “cardiovascular” disease—literally a disorder affecting the heart and/or blood vessels. In CHD, the blood vessels that supply the heart become increasingly narrow. Eventually, the flow of blood to the heart slows or stops, causing chest pains (angina), breathlessness, and heart attacks. Many factors increase the risk of developing CHD and other cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, high blood levels of cholesterol (a type of fat), or being overweight. Individuals can reduce their chances of developing cardiovascular disease by taking drugs to reduce their blood pressure or cholesterol levels or by making lifestyle changes (so-called cardioprotective interventions). Another important risk factor for cardiovascular disease is end-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition in which the kidneys stop working. (In healthy people, the kidneys remove waste products and excess fluid from the body.) People with end-stage CKD (which is treated by dialysis) have about a five times higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with healthy people.
Why Was This Study Done?
End-stage CKD is preceded by a gradual loss of kidney function. There is a clear association between non-dialysis–dependent CKD and the incidence of cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks) in people who already have signs of cardiovascular disease. But are people with slightly dysfunctional kidneys (often because of increasing age) but without any obvious cardiovascular disease at greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than people with fully functional kidneys? If the answer is yes, it might be possible to reduce CHD deaths by minimizing the exposure of people with CKD to other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In this study, the researchers have taken two approaches to answer this question. In a population-based study, they have examined whether there is any association in healthy adults between kidney function measured at the start of the study and incident CHD (the first occurrence of CHD) over subsequent years. In addition, they have systematically searched the published literature for similar studies and combined the results of these studies using statistical methods, a so-called “meta-analysis.”
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between 1967 and 1991, nearly 19,000 middle-aged men and women without a history of heart attacks living in Reykjavik, Iceland, enrolled in a prospective study of cardiovascular disease. Baseline blood samples were taken at enrollment and the participants' health monitored for 20 years on average. The researchers identified 2,007 participants who suffered a nonfatal heart attack or died of CHD during follow-up and 3,869 who remained disease free. They then calculated the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR; a measure of kidney function) for each participant from baseline creatinine measurements (creatinine is a muscle waste product). There was no association between lower-than-average eGFRs and the risk of developing CHD over most of the range of eGFR values. However, people whose eGFR was below approximately 60 units had about a 40% higher risk of developing CHD after allowing for established cardiovascular risk factors than individuals with higher eGFRs. This finding was confirmed by the meta-analysis of six previous studies, which included a further 2,700 incident CHD cases.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that people with an eGFR below about 60 units (the cut-off used to define CKD) may have an increased risk of developing CHD. They also indicate a nonliner association between kidney function and CHD risk. That is, any association with CHD became evident only when the eGFR dropped below about 60 units. These findings need confirming in different ethnic groups and by using more accurate methods to measure eGFRs. Nevertheless, they suggest that improving kidney function across the board is unlikely to have much effect on the overall incidence of CHD. Instead, they suggest that targeting cardioprotective interventions at the one in ten adults in Western countries whose eGFR is below 60 units might be a good way to reduce the burden of CHD.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
MedlinePlus encyclopedia pages on coronary heart disease, chronic kidney failure, and end-stage kidney disease (in English and Spanish).
Information for patients and carers from the American Heart Association on all aspects of heart disease, including prevention of CHD
Information from the British Heart Foundation on heart disease and on keeping the heart healthy
Information on chronic kidney disease from the US National Kidney Foundation, and the US National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearing House (in English and Spanish)
Information on chronic kidney disease from the UK National Kidney Foundation
PMCID: PMC1961630  PMID: 17803353
4.  Risk of Heart Failure With Human Immunodeficiency Virus in the Absence of Prior Diagnosis of Coronary Heart Disease 
Archives of internal medicine  2011;171(8):737-743.
Whether human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a risk factor for heart failure (HF) is not clear. The presence of coronary heart disease and alcohol consumption in this population may confound this association.
To determine whether HIV infection is a risk factor for incident HF, we conducted a population-based, retrospective cohort study of HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected veterans enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study Virtual Cohort (VACS-VC) and the 1999 Large Health Study of Veteran Enrollees (LHS) from January 1, 2000, to July 31, 2007.
There were 8486 participants (28.2% HIV-infected) enrolled in the VACS-VC who also participated in the 1999 LHS. During the median 7.3 years of follow-up, 286 incident HF events occurred. Age- and race/ethnicity–adjusted HF rates among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected veterans were 7.12 (95% confidence interval [CI],6.90-7.34) and 4.82 (95% CI, 4.72-4.91) per 1000 person-years, respectively. Compared with HIV-uninfected veterans, those who were HIV infected had an increased risk ofHF (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.81; 95% CI, 1.39-2.36). This association persisted among veterans who did not have a coronary heart disease event or a diagnosis related to alcohol abuse or dependence before the incident HF event (adjusted HR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.29-2.98). Compared with HIV-uninfected veterans, those who were HIV infected with a baseline Human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) RNA level of 500 or more copies/mL had a higher risk of HF (adjusted HR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.57-3.32), while those with baseline and a recent HIV-1 RNA level less than 500 copies/mL did not (adjusted HR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.64-1.89; P< .001 for comparison between high and low HIV-1 RNA groups).
Our data suggest that HIV infection is a risk factor for HF. Ongoing viral replication is associated with a higher risk of developing HF.
PMCID: PMC3687533  PMID: 21518940
5.  Risk of Hip Fracture Associated with Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Hepatitis C/HIV Coinfection 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;56(5):1688-1698.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been associated with reduced bone mineral density, but its association with fracture rates is unknown, particularly in the setting of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection. Our objectives were to determine whether persons with HCV infection alone are at increased risk for hip fracture compared to uninfected individuals and to examine if the risk of hip fracture is higher among HCV/HIV-coinfected persons compared to those with HCV alone, those with HIV alone, and those uninfected with either virus. We conducted a cohort study in 36,950 HCV/HIV-coinfected, 276,901HCV-monoinfected, 95,827 HIV-monoinfected, and 3,110,904 HCV/HIV-uninfected persons within the U.S. Medicaid populations of California, Florida, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (1999–2005). Incidence rates of hip fracture were lowest among uninfected persons (1.29 events/1000 person-years), increased with the presence of either HIV infection (1.95 events/1000 person-years) or HCV infection (2.69 events/1000 person-years), and were highest among HCV/HIV-coinfected individuals (3.06 events/1000 person-years). HCV/HIV coinfection was associated with an increased relative hazard (adjusted hazard ratio [95% confidence interval]) of hip fracture compared to HCV-monoinfected (1.38 [1.25–1.53]), HIV-monoinfected (females: 1.76 [1.44–2.16]; males: 1.36 [1.20–1.55]), and uninfected persons (females: 2.65 [2.21–3.17]; males: 2.20 [1.97–2.47]). HCV monoinfection was associated with an increased risk of hip fracture compared to uninfected individuals, and the relative increase was highest in the youngest age groups (females, 18–39 years: 3.56 [2.93–4.32]; males, 18–39 years: 2.40 [2.02–2.84]).
Among Medicaid enrollees, HCV/HIV coinfection was associated with increased rates of hip fracture compared to HCV-monoinfected, HIV-monoinfected, and HCV/HIV-uninfected persons. HCV-monoinfected patients had an increased risk of hip fracture compared to uninfected individuals.
PMCID: PMC3433632  PMID: 22619086
Hepatitis C virus; HCV; HIV; fracture; coinfection
6.  The Relationship between Proteinuria and Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e207.
Markers of kidney dysfunction such as proteinuria or albuminuria have been reported to be associated with coronary heart disease, but the consistency and strength of any such relationship has not been clearly defined. This lack of clarity has led to great uncertainty as to how proteinuria should be treated in the assessment and management of cardiovascular risk. We therefore undertook a systematic review of published cohort studies aiming to provide a reliable estimate of the strength of association between proteinuria and coronary heart disease.
Methods and Findings
A meta-analysis of cohort studies was conducted to obtain a summary estimate of the association between measures of proteinuria and coronary risk. MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for studies reporting an age- or multivariate-adjusted estimate and standard error of the association between proteinuria and coronary heart disease. Studies were excluded if the majority of the study population had known glomerular disease or were the recipients of renal transplants. Two independent researchers extracted the estimates of association between proteinuria (total urinary protein >300 mg/d), microalbuminuria (urinary albumin 30–300 mg/d), macroalbuminuria (urinary albumin >300 mg/d), and risk of coronary disease from individual studies. These estimates were combined using a random-effects model. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to examine possible sources of heterogeneity in effect size. A total of 26 cohort studies were identified involving 169,949 individuals and 7,117 coronary events (27% fatal). The presence of proteinuria was associated with an approximate 50% increase in coronary risk (risk ratio 1.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.23–1.74) after adjustment for known risk factors. For albuminuria, there was evidence of a dose–response relationship: individuals with microalbuminuria were at 50% greater risk of coronary heart disease (risk ratio 1.47, 95% CI 1.30–1.66) than those without; in those with macroalbuminuria the risk was more than doubled (risk ratio 2.17, 1.87–2.52). Sensitivity analysis indicated no important differences in prespecified subgroups.
These data confirm a strong and continuous association between proteinuria and subsequent risk of coronary heart disease, and suggest that proteinuria should be incorporated into the assessment of an individual's cardiovascular risk.
Vlado Perkovic and colleagues show, through a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies, that there is a strong and continuous association between proteinuria and subsequent risk of coronary heart disease.
Editors' Summary
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death among adults in developed countries. With age, fatty deposits called atherosclerotic plaques coat the walls of arteries, the vessels that nourish the organs of the body by carrying blood and oxygen to them. Because they narrow the arteries, atherosclerotic plaques restrict the blood flow to the body's organs. If these plaques form in the arteries that feed the heart muscle (the coronary arteries), the result is CHD. The symptoms of CHD include shortness of breath and chest pains (angina). In addition, if a plaque breaks off the wall of a coronary artery, it can completely block that artery, which kills part of the heart muscle and causes a potentially fatal heart attack. Smoking, high blood pressure, high blood levels of cholesterol (a type of fat), having diabetes, being overweight, and being physically inactive are established risk factors for CHD. Treatments for CHD include lifestyle changes (for example, losing weight) and medications that lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol. The narrowed arteries can also be widened using a device called a stent or surgically bypassed.
Why Was This Study Done?
In addition to the established risk factors for CHD, several other factors may also increase a person's risk of developing CHD, including kidney disease, which affects one in six adults to some degree. An early sign of kidney dysfunction is high amounts of a protein called albumin or of total proteins in the urine (albuminuria and proteinuria, respectively). Some studies have suggested that proteinuria is associated with an increased risk of CHD, but the results of these studies are inconsistent. Consequently, it is unclear whether proteinuria should be considered when assessing and managing an individual's CHD risk. In this study, the researchers undertake a systematic review (a study in which predefined search criteria are used to identify all the research on a specific topic) and a meta-analysis (a statistical method for combining the results of several studies) of published studies that have investigated the association between proteinuria and CHD.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers' systematic review identified 26 published studies that provided estimates of the association between CHD risk and proteinuria and albuminuria by measuring baseline urinary protein and albumin levels in people who were then followed for several years to see whether they developed CHD. Nearly 170,000 individuals participated in these studies, which recorded more 7,000 fatal and nonfatal heart attacks and other coronary events. In the meta-analysis, proteinuria (urinary protein of more than 300 mg/d or dipstick 1+ or more) increased CHD risk by 50% after adjustment for other known CHD risk factors. Furthermore, individuals with microalbuminuria (a urinary albumin of 30–300 mg/d) were 50% more likely to develop CHD than those with normal amounts of urinary albumin; people with macroalbuminuria (urinary albumin of more than 300 mg/d) were more than twice as likely to develop CHD. Finally, the association between proteinuria and CHD did not differ substantially between specific subgroups of participants such as people with and without diabetes.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that there is a strong, possibly dose-dependent association between proteinuria and the risk of CHD and that this association is independent of other known CHD risk factors, including diabetes. The finding that people with proteinuria have a 50% or greater increased risk of developing CHD than people without proteinuria may be a slight overestimate of the strength of the association between proteinuria because of publication bias. That is, studies that failed to show an association may not have been published. However, because this systematic review and meta-analysis includes several large population-based studies done in various parts of the world, these findings are likely to be generalizable. Thus, these findings support the inclusion of an evaluation of proteinuria in the assessment of CHD risk and suggest that medications and other strategies that reduce proteinuria might help to reduce the overall burden of CHD.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and chronic kidney failure (in English and Spanish)
Information is available from the US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute on coronary heart disease
The UK National Health Service Direct health encyclopedia also provides information about coronary heart disease (in several languages)
Information for patients and caregivers is provided by the American Heart Association on all aspects of heart disease.
The British Heart Foundation also provides information on heart disease and on keeping the heart healthy
PMCID: PMC2570419  PMID: 18942886
7.  The Association Between the Receipt of Lipid Lowering Therapy and HIV Status Among Veterans Who Met NCEP/ATP III Criteria for the Receipt of Lipid Lowering Medication 
To examine the association between HIV infection status and the receipt of lipid lowering therapy based on National Cholesterol Education Program/Adult Treatment Panel (NCEP/ATP III) guidelines and to assess whether HIV viral load and hepatitis C (HCV) status alters that association.
A cross-sectional analysis of survey, laboratory, and pharmacy data from 1,577 male participants (59% HIV infected) of the Veterans Aging Cohort Five-Site Study, a prospective observational cohort of U.S. veterans with and without HIV infection.
Receipt of lipid lowering therapy obtained from the VA pharmacy benefits management system was the main outcome.
The prevalence of lipid lowering therapy among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected veterans was 15.4% vs. 37.9%, respectively,  < 0.01. Among veterans who met NCEP/ATP III criteria for lipid lowering therapy, HIV-infected veterans had a significantly lower prevalence for the receipt of lipid lowering therapy (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 0.43, 95% confidence interval (C.I.) 0.28–0.67) as compared with HIV-uninfected veterans. Among HIV-infected veterans, log HIV viral load (adjusted OR = 0.57, 95% CI, 0.41–0.81) and HIV-HCV co-infection (adjusted OR = 0.31, 95% CI = 0.13–0.75) were negatively associated with receipt of lipid lowering therapy. Exposure to HAART was not associated with receipt of lipid lowering therapy.
Among those who met NCEP/ATP III criteria for lipid lowering therapy, HIV-infected veterans, particularly those with high HIV viral loads and HCV co-infection, were significantly less likely to receive lipid lowering therapy. This may be a modifiable mediator of cardiovascular disease among HIV-infected individuals.
PMCID: PMC2642578  PMID: 19127386
HIV; cholesterol; hepatitis C; men; veterans; cardiovascular diseases
8.  Predictors of Mortality among United States Veterans with Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis C Virus Coinfection 
ISRN Gastroenterology  2014;2014:764540.
Background. Understanding the predictors of mortality in individuals with human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C virus (HIV/HCV) coinfection can be useful in management of these patients. Methods. We used the Electronically Retrieved Cohort of HCV Infected Veterans (ERCHIVES) for these analyses. Multivariate Cox-regression models were used to determine predictors of mortality. Results. Among 8,039 HIV infected veterans, 5251 (65.3%) had HCV coinfection. The all-cause mortality rate was 74.1 (70.4–77.9) per 1000 person-years (PY) among veterans with HIV/HCV coinfection and 39.8 (36.3–43.6) per 1000 PY for veterans with HIV monoinfection. The multivariable adjusted hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) of all-cause mortality for HCV infection was 1.58 (1.36–1.84). Positive predictors of mortality included decompensated liver disease (2.33 (1.98–2.74)), coronary artery disease (1.74 (1.32–2.28)), chronic kidney disease (1.62 (1.36–1.92)), and anemia (1.58 (1.31–1.89)). Factors associated with reduced mortality included HCV treatment (0.41 (0.27–0.63)) and higher CD4 count (0.90 (0.87–0.93) per 100 cells/μL higher count). Data were insufficient to make informative analyses of the role of HCV virologic response. Conclusion. HCV coinfection was associated with substantial increased risk of mortality among HIV infected veterans. HCV treatment was associated with significantly lower risk of mortality.
PMCID: PMC4004106  PMID: 25006471
9.  HIV Infection and the Risk of Diabetes Mellitus 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(10):1227-1234.
The influence of HIV infection on the risk of diabetes is unclear. We determined the association and predictors of prevalent DM in HIV infected and uninfected veterans.
We determined baseline prevalence and risk factors for diabetes among HIV infected and uninfected veterans in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study. Logistic regression was used to determine the odds of diabetes in HIV infected and uninfected persons.
We studied 3,327 HIV-infected and 3,240 HIV-uninfected subjects. HIV infected subjects were younger, more likely to be black race, male, have HCV coinfection and a lower body mass index (BMI). HIV infected subjects had a lower prevalence of diabetes at baseline (14.9% vs. 21.4%, P<0.0001). After adjustment for known risk factors, HIV infected individuals had a lower risk of diabetes (OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.72-0.97). Increasing age, male gender, minority race, and BMI were associated with an increased risk. The odds ratio for diabetes associated with increasing age, minority race and BMI were greater among HIV infected veterans. HCV coinfection and nucleoside and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor therapy were associated with a higher risk of diabetes in HIV infected veterans.
While HIV infection itself is not associated with increased risk of diabetes, increasing age, HCV coinfection and BMI have a more profound effect upon the risk of diabetes among HIV infected persons. Further, long term ARV treatment also increases risk. Future studies will need to determine whether incidence of DM differs by HIV status.
PMCID: PMC2752953  PMID: 19444074
HIV; diabetes; HCV; risk; antiretroviral therapy
10.  Diabetes Mellitus, Preexisting Coronary Heart Disease, and the Risk of Subsequent Coronary Heart Disease Events in Patients Infected With Human Immunodeficiency Virus 
Circulation  2009;119(6):805-811.
Although guidelines in individuals not infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) consider diabetes mellitus (DM) to be a coronary heart disease (CHD) equivalent, there is little information on its association with CHD in those infected with HIV. We investigated the impact of DM and preexisting CHD on the development of a new CHD episode among 33 347 HIV-infected individuals in the Data Collection on Adverse Events of Anti-HIV Drugs (D:A:D Study).
Methods and Results
Over 159 971 person-years, 698 CHD events occurred. After adjustment for gender, age, cohort, HIV transmission, ethnicity, family history of CHD, smoking, and calendar year, the rate of a CHD episode was 7.52 times higher (Poisson regression, 95% CI 6.02 to 9.39, P=0.0001) in those with preexisting CHD than in those without preexisting CHD, but it was only 2.41 times higher (95% CI 1.91 to 3.05, P=0.0001) in those with preexisting DM compared with those without DM. No statistical interactions were apparent between either diagnosis and sex; although older people with DM had an increased CHD rate compared with younger people, older people with preexisting CHD had a lower event rate. A statistically significant interaction between preexisting DM and CHD (P=0.003) suggested that the CHD rate in those with preexisting CHD and DM is lower than expected on the basis of the main effects alone.
DM and preexisting CHD are both important risk factors for CHD events in HIV-infected individuals. There is a need for targeted interventions to reduce the risk of CHD in both high-risk groups of HIV-infected individuals.
PMCID: PMC2715841  PMID: 19188509
coronary disease; diabetes mellitus; risk factors; human immunodeficiency virus; epidemiology
11.  Effects on Coronary Heart Disease of Increasing Polyunsaturated Fat in Place of Saturated Fat: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(3):e1000252.
Dariush Mozaffarian and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the effect of consuming polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fats for lowering the risk of coronary heart disease.
Reduced saturated fat (SFA) consumption is recommended to reduce coronary heart disease (CHD), but there is an absence of strong supporting evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of clinical CHD events and few guidelines focus on any specific replacement nutrient. Additionally, some public health groups recommend lowering or limiting polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) consumption, a major potential replacement for SFA.
Methods and Findings
We systematically investigated and quantified the effects of increased PUFA consumption, as a replacement for SFA, on CHD endpoints in RCTs. RCTs were identified by systematic searches of multiple online databases through June 2009, grey literature sources, hand-searching related articles and citations, and direct contacts with experts to identify potentially unpublished trials. Studies were included if they randomized participants to increased PUFA for at least 1 year without major concomitant interventions, had an appropriate control group, and reported incidence of CHD (myocardial infarction and/or cardiac death). Inclusions/exclusions were adjudicated and data were extracted independently and in duplicate by two investigators and included population characteristics, control and intervention diets, follow-up duration, types of events, risk ratios, and SEs. Pooled effects were calculated using inverse-variance-weighted random effects meta-analysis. From 346 identified abstracts, eight trials met inclusion criteria, totaling 13,614 participants with 1,042 CHD events. Average weighted PUFA consumption was 14.9% energy (range 8.0%–20.7%) in intervention groups versus 5.0% energy (range 4.0%–6.4%) in controls. The overall pooled risk reduction was 19% (RR = 0.81, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.70–0.95, p = 0.008), corresponding to 10% reduced CHD risk (RR = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.83–0.97) for each 5% energy of increased PUFA, without evidence for statistical heterogeneity (Q-statistic p = 0.13; I2 = 37%). Meta-regression identified study duration as an independent determinant of risk reduction (p = 0.017), with studies of longer duration showing greater benefits.
These findings provide evidence that consuming PUFA in place of SFA reduces CHD events in RCTs. This suggests that rather than trying to lower PUFA consumption, a shift toward greater population PUFA consumption in place of SFA would significantly reduce rates of CHD.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death among adults in developed countries. It is caused by disease of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients. With age, inflammatory deposits (atherosclerotic plaques) coat the walls of these arteries and restrict the heart's blood supply, causing angina (chest pains that are usually relieved by rest), shortness of breath, and, if these plaques rupture or break, heart attacks (myocardial infarctions), which can reduce the heart's function or even be fatal. The key risk factors for CHD are smoking, physical inactivity, and poor diet. Blood cholesterol levels are altered by consuming dietary fats. There are three main types of dietary fats—“saturated” fatty acids (SFA) and unsaturated fatty acids; the latter can be “mono” unsaturated (MUFA) or “poly” unsaturated (PUFA). Eating SFA-rich foods (for example, meat, butter, and cheese) increases the amount of LDL-C in the blood but also increases HDL-C (the “good” cholesterol) and decreases triglycerides. Eating foods that are rich in unsaturated fatty acids (for example, vegetable oils and fatty fish) decreases the amount of LDL-C and triglycerides in the blood and also raises HDL-C.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because of the connection between eating SFA and high blood LDL-C levels, reduced SFA consumption is recommended as a way to avoid CHD. However, the evidence from individual randomized controlled trials that have studied CHD events (such as heart attacks and CHD-related deaths) have been mixed and could not support this recommendation. Furthermore, dietary recommendations to reduce SFA have generally not specified any replacement, i.e., whether SFA should be replaced with carbohydrate, protein, or unsaturated fats. Because of their beneficial effects on blood LDL-C and HDL-C levels, PUFA could be one important replacement for SFA, but, surprisingly, some experts argue that eating PUFA could actually increase CHD risk. Consequently, some guidelines recommend that PUFA consumption should be limited or even reduced. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a specific topic) and meta-analysis (a statistical method for combining the results of several studies) of randomized controlled trials, the researchers assess the impact of increased PUFA consumption as replacement for SFA on CHD events.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers' search of the published literature, “grey” literature (doctoral dissertations, technical reports, and other documents not printed in books and journals), and contacts with relevant experts identified eight trials in which participants were randomized to increase their PUFA intake for at least a year and in which CHD events were reported. 1,042 CHD events were recorded among the 13,614 participants enrolled in these trials. In their meta-analysis, the researchers found that on average the consumption of PUFA accounted for 14.9% of total energy intake in the intervention groups compared with only 5% of total energy intake in the control groups. Participants in the intervention groups had a 19% reduced risk of CHD events compared to participants in the control groups. Put another way, each 5% increase in the proportion of energy obtained from PUFA reduced the risk of CHD events by 10%. Finally, the researchers found that the benefits associated with PUFA consumption increased with longer duration of the trials.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the replacement of some dietary SFA with PUFA reduces CHD events. Because the trials included in this study looked only at replacing SFA with PUFA, it is not possible from this evidence alone to distinguish between the benefits of reducing SFA and the benefits of increasing PUFA. Furthermore, the small number of trials identified in this study all had design faults, so the risk reductions reported here may be inaccurate. However, other lines of evidence (for example, observational studies that have examined associations between the fat intake of populations and their risk of CHD) also suggest that consumption of PUFA in place of SFA reduces CHD risk. Thus, in the light of these findings, future recommendations to reduce SFA in the diet should stress the importance of replacing SFA with PUFA rather than with other forms of energy, and the current advice to limit PUFA intake should be revised.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The American Heart Association provides information about all aspects of coronary heart disease for patients, caregivers, and professionals, including advice on dietary fats (in several languages)
The UK National Health Service Choices Web site provides information about coronary heart disease
Eatwell, a resource provided by the UK Food Standards Agency, gives advice on all aspects of healthy eating, including fat consumption
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources on coronary heart disease and on cholesterol (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2843598  PMID: 20351774
12.  Mortality in Hepatitis C Virus–Infected Patients With a Diagnosis of AIDS in the Era of Combination Antiretroviral Therapy 
Chronic hepatitis C increased mortality by approximately 50% in patients with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–defined AIDS, despite the competing mortality risks in these patients. About 20% of the deaths were liver-related, suggesting that greater hepatitis C virus awareness and treatment could increase survival.
Background. Before the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) rarely died of liver disease. In resource-rich countries, cART dramatically increased longevity. As patients survived longer, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection became a leading cause of death; however, because patients with AIDS continue to have 5-fold greater mortality than non-AIDS patients, it is unclear whether HCV infection increases mortality in them.
Methods. In this investigation, which is part of the Longitudinal Studies of the Ocular Complications of AIDS, plasma banked at enrollment from 2025 patients with AIDS as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were tested for HCV RNA and antibodies.
Results. Three hundred thirty-seven patients had HCV RNA (chronic infection), 91 had HCV antibodies and no HCV RNA (cleared infection), and 1597 had no HCV markers. Median CD4+ T-cell counts/µL were 200 (chronic), 193 (cleared), and 175 (no markers). There were 558 deaths. At a median follow-up of 6.1 years, patients with chronic HCV had a 50% increased risk of mortality compared with patients with no HCV markers (relative risk [RR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2–1.9; P = .001) in an adjusted model that included known risk factors. Mortality was not increased in patients with cleared infection (RR, 0.9; 95% CI, .6–1.5; P = .82). In patients with chronic HCV, 20.4% of deaths were liver related compared with 3.8% in patients without HCV.
Conclusions. Chronic HCV infection is independently associated with a 50% increase in mortality among patients with a diagnosis of AIDS, despite competing risks. Effective HCV treatment may benefit HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with AIDS.
PMCID: PMC3369565  PMID: 22534149
13.  Homocysteine and Coronary Heart Disease: Meta-analysis of MTHFR Case-Control Studies, Avoiding Publication Bias 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(2):e1001177.
Robert Clarke and colleagues conduct a meta-analysis of unpublished datasets to examine the causal relationship between elevation of homocysteine levels in the blood and the risk of coronary heart disease. Their data suggest that an increase in homocysteine levels is not likely to result in an increase in risk of coronary heart disease.
Moderately elevated blood levels of homocysteine are weakly correlated with coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, but causality remains uncertain. When folate levels are low, the TT genotype of the common C677T polymorphism (rs1801133) of the methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase gene (MTHFR) appreciably increases homocysteine levels, so “Mendelian randomization” studies using this variant as an instrumental variable could help test causality.
Methods and Findings
Nineteen unpublished datasets were obtained (total 48,175 CHD cases and 67,961 controls) in which multiple genetic variants had been measured, including MTHFR C677T. These datasets did not include measurements of blood homocysteine, but homocysteine levels would be expected to be about 20% higher with TT than with CC genotype in the populations studied. In meta-analyses of these unpublished datasets, the case-control CHD odds ratio (OR) and 95% CI comparing TT versus CC homozygotes was 1.02 (0.98–1.07; p = 0.28) overall, and 1.01 (0.95–1.07) in unsupplemented low-folate populations. By contrast, in a slightly updated meta-analysis of the 86 published studies (28,617 CHD cases and 41,857 controls), the OR was 1.15 (1.09–1.21), significantly discrepant (p = 0.001) with the OR in the unpublished datasets. Within the meta-analysis of published studies, the OR was 1.12 (1.04–1.21) in the 14 larger studies (those with variance of log OR<0.05; total 13,119 cases) and 1.18 (1.09–1.28) in the 72 smaller ones (total 15,498 cases).
The CI for the overall result from large unpublished datasets shows lifelong moderate homocysteine elevation has little or no effect on CHD. The discrepant overall result from previously published studies reflects publication bias or methodological problems.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death among adults in developed countries. With age, fatty deposits (atherosclerotic plaques) coat the walls of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients. The resultant restriction of the heart's blood supply causes shortness of breath, angina (chest pains that are usually relieved by rest), and sometimes fatal heart attacks. Many established risk factors for CHD, including smoking, physical inactivity, being overweight, and eating a fat-rich diet, can be modified by lifestyle changes. Another possible modifiable risk factor for CHD is a high blood level of the amino acid homocysteine. Methylene tetrahydofolate reductase, which is encoded by the MTHFR gene, uses folate to break down and remove homocysteine so fortification of cereals with folate can reduce population homocysteine blood levels. Pooled results from prospective observational studies that have looked for an association between homocysteine levels and later development of CHD suggest that the reduction in homocysteine levels that can be achieved by folate supplementation is associated with an 11% lower CHD risk.
Why Was This Study Done?
Prospective observational studies cannot prove that high homocysteine levels cause CHD because of confounding, the potential presence of other unknown shared characteristics that really cause CHD. However, an approach called “Mendelian randomization” can test whether high blood homocysteine causes CHD. A common genetic variant of the MTHFR gene—the C677T polymorphism—reduces MTHFR efficiency so TT homozygotes (individuals in whom both copies of the MTHFR gene have the nucleotide thymine at position 677; the human genome contains two copies of most genes) have 25% higher blood homocysteine levels than CC homozygotes. In meta-analyses (statistical pooling of the results of several studies) of published Mendelian randomized studies, TT homozygotes have a higher CHD risk than CC homozygotes. Because gene variants are inherited randomly, they are not subject to confounding, so this result suggests that high blood homocysteine causes CHD. But what if only Mendelian randomization studies that found an association have been published? Such publication bias would affect this aggregate result. Here, the researchers investigate the association of the MTHFR C677T polymorphism with CHD in unpublished datasets that have analyzed this polymorphism incidentally during other genetic studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers obtained 19 unpublished datasets that contained data on the MTHFR C677T polymorphism in thousands of people with and without CHD. Meta-analysis of these datasets indicates that the excess CHD risk in TT homozygotes compared to CC homozygotes was 2% (much lower than predicted from the prospective observational studies), a nonsignificant difference (that is, it could have occurred by chance). When the probable folate status of the study populations (based on when national folic acid fortification legislation came into effect) was taken into account, there was still no evidence that TT homozygotes had an excess CHD risk. By contrast, in an updated meta-analysis of 86 published studies of the association of the polymorphism with CHD, the excess CHD risk in TT homozygotes compared to CC homozygotes was 15%. Finally, in a meta-analysis of randomized trials on the use of vitamin B supplements for homocysteine reduction, folate supplementation had no significant effect on the 5-year incidence of CHD.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These analyses of unpublished datasets are consistent with lifelong moderate elevation of homocysteine levels having no significant effect on CHD risk. In other words, these findings indicate that circulating homocysteine levels within the normal range are not causally related to CHD risk. The meta-analysis of the randomized trials of folate supplementation also supports this conclusion. So why is there a discrepancy between these findings and those of meta-analyses of published Mendelian randomization studies? The discrepancy is too large to be dismissed as a chance finding, suggest the researchers, but could be the result of publication bias—some studies might have been prioritized for publication because of the positive nature of their results whereas the unpublished datasets used in this study would not have been affected by any failure to publish null results. Overall, these findings reveal a serious example of publication bias and argue against the use of folate supplements as a means of reducing CHD risk.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The American Heart Association provides information about CHD and tips on keeping the heart healthy; it also provides information on homocysteine, folic acid, and CHD, general information on supplements and heart health, and personal stories about CHD
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about CHD, including personal stories about CHD
Information is available from the British Heart Foundation on heart disease and keeping the heart healthy
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute also provides information on CHD (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to many other sources of information on CHD (in English and Spanish)
Wikipedia has a page on Mendelian randomization (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC3283559  PMID: 22363213
14.  Hepatitis C and the Risk of Kidney Disease and Mortality in Veterans With HIV 
To examine the effect of hepatitis C virus (HCV) on the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) among veterans with HIV and to evaluate independent associations of HCV and CKD with mortality.
We studied a national cohort of HIV-infected patients receiving care through the Veterans Healthcare Administration from 1998 to 2004. CKD was defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR (mL/min/1.73 m2)] < 60. Poisson regression was used to assess relationships between CKD, HCV, and mortality.
Among 23,155 HIV-infected veterans, 12% had CKD. Forty percent of the cohort was coinfected with HCV, and a higher proportion of coinfected subjects had CKD compared with monoinfected subjects (14% vs 11%, P < 0.001). During the median follow-up of 7.6 years, 37% of subjects died and a graduated increase in adjusted mortality rates occurred with lower levels of eGFR (P < 0.001). Adjusted mortality rates were consistently higher in HCV-coinfected subjects across all levels of eGFR (P < 0.001). HCV was independently associated with increased mortality (incidence rate ratio 1.23, 95% confidence interval 1.17–1.29).
CKD is prevalent in HIV-infected veterans and associated with substantially higher mortality. Compared with their monoinfected counterparts, veterans coinfected with HCV have significantly higher rates of CKD and mortality.
PMCID: PMC3032564  PMID: 20104121
death; HIV; hepatitis C; kidney failure; veterans
15.  Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acid Concentration and Incident Coronary Heart Disease in Men and Women: The EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001255.
Kay-Tee Khaw and colleagues analyze data from a prospective cohort study and show associations between plasma concentrations of saturated phospholipid fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease, and an inverse association between omega-6 polyunsaturated phospholipid fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease.
The lack of association found in several cohort studies between dietary saturated fat and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk has renewed debate over the link between dietary fats and CHD.
Methods and Findings
We assessed the relationship between plasma phospholipid fatty acid (PFA) concentration and incident CHD using a nested case control design within a prospective study (EPIC-Norfolk) of 25,639 individuals aged 40–79 years examined in 1993–1997 and followed up to 2009. Plasma PFA concentrations were measured by gas chromatography in baseline samples retrieved from frozen storage. In 2,424 men and women with incident CHD compared with 4,930 controls alive and free of cardiovascular disease, mean follow-up 13 years, saturated PFA (14:0, 16:0,18:0) plasma concentrations were significantly associated with increased CHD risk (odds ratio [OR] 1.75, 95% CI 1.27–2.41, p<0.0001), in top compared to bottom quartiles (Q), and omega-6 polyunsaturated PFA concentrations were inversely related (OR 0.77, 0.60–0.99, p<0.05) after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, blood pressure, smoking, alcohol intake, plasma vitamin C, social class, education, and other PFAs. Monounsaturated PFA, omega-3 PFA, and trans PFA concentrations were not significantly associated with CHD. Odd chain PFA (15:0, 17:0) concentrations were significantly inversely associated with CHD (OR 0.73, 0.59–0.91, p<0.001, Q4 versus Q1). Within families of saturated PFA or polyunsaturated PFA, significantly heterogeneous relationships with CHD were observed for individual fatty acids.
In this study, plasma concentrations of even chain saturated PFA were found to be positively and omega-6 polyunsaturated PFA inversely related to subsequent coronary heart disease risk. These findings are consistent with accumulating evidence suggesting a protective role of omega-6 fats substituting for saturated fats for CHD prevention.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a condition caused by a build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels that supply the heart, causing the affected person to experience pain, usually on exertion (angina). A complete occlusion of the vessel by deposits causes a heart attack (myocardial infarction). Lifestyle factors, such as diet (particularly one high in fat), contribute to causing CHD. There are different types of fat, some of which are thought to increase risk of CHD, such as saturated fat, typically found in meat and dairy foods. However, others, such as unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) found in foods such as vegetable oils, fish, and nuts, may actually help prevent this condition.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although there have been many studies investigating the role of different types of dietary fat in coronary heart disease, it is still not clear whether coronary heart disease can be prevented by changing the type of dietary fat consumed from saturated to unsaturated fats or by lowering all types of dietary fat. Furthermore, many of these studies have relied on participants recalling their dietary intake in questionnaires, which is an unreliable method for different fats. So in this study, the researchers used an established UK cohort to measure the levels of different types of fatty acids in blood to investigate whether a diet high in saturated fatty acids and low in unsaturated fatty acids increases CHD risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a selection of 10,000 participants (all men and women aged 40–79 years) from the prospective European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk cohort. Blood samples from the selected participants taken at the start of the study in 1993–1997 were analyzed to determine levels of specific fatty acids. Participants were followed up till 2011. The researchers identified 2,424 participants who were subsequently diagnosed with CHD using death certificates and hospital discharge data and matched these with 4,930 controls who were still alive and free of known coronary disease. The researchers grouped the type of blood fatty acids identified in the blood samples into six families (even chain saturated fatty acid, odd chain saturated fatty acid, omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, monounsaturated fatty acid, and trans-fatty acid), which represented saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Using statistical methods, the researchers then compared the risks of developing CHD between cases and controls by the concentration of fatty acid families after adjusting for age and sex and other factors, such as body mass index, physical activity, and smoking. Using these methods, the researchers found that there was no overall significant relationship between total blood fatty acid concentration and CHD but there was a positive association with increasing blood saturated fatty acid concentration after adjusting for other fatty acid concentrations, with an odds ratio of 1.83 comparing higher versus lower concentrations. This risk was attenuated after adjusting for cholesterol levels, indicating that much of the association between saturated fatty acid and CHD is likely to be mediated through blood cholesterol levels. In contrast, blood omega-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acid concentrations were associated with lower CHD risk. Blood monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids, and trans-fatty acids were not consistently associated with CHD risk. The authors also noted that within families of fatty acids, individual fatty acids related differently to CHD risk.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that plasma concentrations of saturated fatty acids are associated with increased risk of CHD and that concentrations of omega-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acids are associated with decreased risk of CHD. These findings are consistent with other studies and with current dietary advice for preventing CHD, which encourages substituting foods high in saturated fat with n-6 polyunsaturated fats. The results also suggest that different fatty acids may relate differently to CHD risk and that the overall balance between different fatty acids is important. However, there are limitations to this study, such as that factors other than diet (genetic differences in metabolism, for example) may cause changes to blood fatty acid levels so a major question is to identify what factors influence blood fatty acid concentrations. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that individual fatty acids play a role in increasing or decreasing risks of CHD.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information about the EPIC-Norfolk study is available
The American Heart Foundation provides patient-friendly information about different dietary fats as does Medline
The British Heart Foundation also provides patient-friendly information on heart conditions
PMCID: PMC3389034  PMID: 22802735
16.  Association between urinary albumin excretion and coronary heart disease in black versus white adults 
JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association  2013;310(7):10.1001/jama.2013.8777.
Excess urinary albumin excretion is more common in black individuals than in white individuals and is more strongly associated with incident stroke risk in blacks than whites. Whether similar associations extend to coronary heart disease (CHD) is unclear.
To determine whether the association of urinary albumin excretion with CHD events differs by race.
Design, Setting and Participants
Within the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, a prospective cohort of black and white US adults ≥45 years of age enrolled between 2003 and 2007 with follow-up through December 31 2009, we examined race-stratified associations of urinary albumin to creatinine ratio (ACR) with (1) incident CHD among 23,273 participants free of CHD at baseline, and (2) first recurrent CHD event among 4,934 participants with CHD at baseline.
Main Outcome Measure
Expert-adjudicated incident and recurrent myocardial infarction (MI) and acute CHD death.
A total of 616 incident CHD events (421 non-fatal MIs and 195 CHD deaths) and 468 recurrent CHD events (279 non-fatal MIs and 189 CHD deaths) were observed over a mean 4.4 years of follow-up. Among those free of CHD at baseline, age- and sex-adjusted incidence rates of CHD per 1000 person-years of follow-up increased with increasing categories of ACR in blacks and whites, with rates being nearly 1.5-fold higher in the highest category of ACR (>300 mg/g) in blacks vs. whites (20.59, 95% confidence interval [14.36,29.51] in blacks vs. 13.60 [7.60,24.25] in whites). In proportional hazards models adjusted for traditional cardiovascular risk factors and medications, higher baseline urinary ACR was associated with higher risk of incident CHD among blacks (hazard ratio [HR] comparing ACR >300 vs. <10 mg/g, 3.21 [2.02,5.09]) but not whites (HR comparing ACR >300 vs. <10 mg/g, 1.49 [0.80,2.76]) (P-interaction=0.03). Among those with CHD at baseline, fully-adjusted associations of baseline urinary ACR with first recurrent CHD event were similar in blacks and whites (HR comparing ACR >300 vs. <10 mg/g, 2.21 [1.22,4.00] in blacks vs. 2.48 [1.61,3.78] in whites) (P-interaction=0.53).
Higher urinary ACR was associated with higher risk of incident but not recurrent CHD in blacks compared to whites.
PMCID: PMC3837520  PMID: 23989654
17.  Mortality of patients infected with HIV in the intensive care unit (2005 through 2010): significant role of chronic hepatitis C and severe sepsis 
Critical Care  2014;18(4):475.
The combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) has led to decreased opportunistic infections and hospital admissions in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients, but the intensive care unit (ICU) admission rate remains constant (or even increased in some instances) during the cART era. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with an increased risk for hospital admission and/or mortality (particularly those related to severe liver disease) compared with the general population. The aim of this study was to assess the mortality among HIV-infected patients in ICU, and to evaluate the impact of HIV/HCV coinfection and severe sepsis on ICU mortality.
We carried out a retrospective study based on patients admitted to ICU who were recorded in the Minimum Basic Data Set (2005 through 2010) in Spain. HIV-infected patients (All-HIV-group (n = 1,891)) were divided into two groups: HIV-monoinfected patients (HIV group (n = 1,191)) and HIV/HCV-coinfected patients (HIV/HCV group (n = 700)). A control group (HIV(-)/HCV(-)) was also included (n = 7,496).
All-HIV group had higher frequencies of severe sepsis (57.7% versus 39.4%; P < 0.001) than did the control group. Overall, ICU mortality in patients with severe sepsis was much more frequent than that in patients without severe sepsis (other causes) at days 30 and 90 in HIV-infected patients and the control group (P < 0.001). Moreover, the all-HIV group in the presence or absence of severe sepsis had a higher percentage of death than did the control group at days 7 (P < 0.001), 30 (P < 0.001) and 90 (P < 0.001). Besides, the HIV/HCV group had a higher percentage of death, both in patients with severe sepsis and in patients without severe sepsis compared with the HIV group at days 7 (P < 0.001) and 30 (P < 0.001), whereas no differences were found at day 90. In a bayesian competing-risk model, the HIV/HCV group had a higher mortality risk (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 1.44 (95% CI = 1.30 to 1.59) and aHR = 1.57 (95% CI = 1.38 to 1.78) for patients with and without severe sepsis, respectively).
HIV infection was related to a higher frequency of severe sepsis and death among patients admitted to the ICU. Besides, HIV/HCV coinfection contributed to an increased risk of death in both the presence and the absence of severe sepsis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13054-014-0475-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4176576  PMID: 25159592
18.  Hepatic Decompensation in Antiretroviral-Treated HIV/Hepatitis C-Coinfected Compared to Hepatitis C-Monoinfected Patients: A Cohort Study 
Annals of internal medicine  2014;160(6):369-379.
The incidence and determinants of hepatic decompensation have been incompletely examined among HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV)-coinfected patients in the antiretroviral therapy (ART) era, and few studies have compared rates of outcomes to those of patients with chronic HCV alone.
To compare the incidence of hepatic decompensation between antiretroviral-treated HIV/HCV-coinfected and HCV-monoinfected patients, and evaluate factors associated with decompensation among coinfected patients on ART.
Retrospective cohort study.
Veterans Health Administration.
4,280 HIV/HCV-coinfected patients who initiated ART and 6,079 HCV-monoinfected patients receiving care between 1997 and 2010. All patients had detectable HCV RNA and were HCV treatment-naïve.
Incident hepatic decompensation, determined by diagnoses of ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, or esophageal variceal hemorrhage.
The incidence of hepatic decompensation was greater among coinfected than monoinfected patients (at 10 years: 7.4% versus 4.8%; p<0.001). Compared to HCV-monoinfected patients, antiretroviral-treated HIV/HCV-coinfected patients had a higher rate of hepatic decompensation (hazard ratio [HR] accounting for competing risks, 1.56 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.31–1.86]). Coinfected patients who maintained HIV RNA levels <1,000 copies/mL still had higher rates of decompensation than HCV-monoinfected patients (HR, 1.44 [95% CI, 1.05–1.99]). Baseline advanced hepatic fibrosis (FIB-4 >3.25; HR, 5.45 [95% CI, 3.79–7.84]), baseline hemoglobin <10 g/dL (HR, 2.24 [CI, 1.20–4.20]), diabetes mellitus (HR, 1.88[95% CI, 1.38–2.56]), and non-black race (HR, 2.12 [95% CI, 1.65–2.72]) were each associated with higher rates of decompensation among coinfected patients on ART.
Observational study of predominantly male patients.
Despite ART, HIV/HCV-coinfected patients had higher rates of hepatic decompensation than HCV-monoinfected individuals. Rates of decompensation were higher for coinfected patients with advanced liver fibrosis, severe anemia, diabetes, and non-black race.
PMCID: PMC4254786  PMID: 24723077
hepatic decompensation; end-stage liver disease; HIV/HCV coinfection; HIV; hepatitis C
19.  Association of Hepatitis C Virus Seropositivity With Inflammatory Markers and Heart Failure in Persons With Coronary Heart Disease: Data From the Heart and Soul Study 
Journal of cardiac failure  2009;15(5):451-456.
How hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors and outcomes is largely unknown.
Methods and Results
Among a cohort of patients with stable CHD, we examined the association between HCV seropositivity and levels of inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein [CRP], fibrinogen, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-α) and risk for the following outcomes: death, cardiovascular (CV) events, and heart failure events. A total of 84 (8.6%) participants were found to be seropositive for HCV. HCV-seropositive patients were found to have significantly lower adjusted mean levels of CRP (2.6 vs. 4.4; P <.01) and fibrinogen (340 vs. 398; P <.01), but higher levels of TNF-α (7.1 vs. 4.8; P <.01). Age-adjusted rates for HCV seropositive vs. seronegative were as follows: death 93 vs. 42/1,000 p-y (P <.01), CV events 62 vs. 40 (P = .13), and heart failure 76 vs. 29 (P <.01). After adjustment for demographic and clinical factors, HCV remained significantly associated with an increased risk for heart failure events (HR =2.13; 95% CI: 1.19–3.80).
In this cohort with CHD, HCV seropositive participants had higher rates of death, CVevents, and heart failure hospitalizations during follow-up. After adjustment for CV risk factors, HCV seropositivity remained independently associated with risk for heart failure events.
PMCID: PMC2782758  PMID: 19477406
Hepatitis C virus; inflammatory markers; heart failure
20.  Long-Term Interleukin-6 Levels and Subsequent Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: Two New Prospective Studies and a Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(4):e78.
The relevance to coronary heart disease (CHD) of cytokines that govern inflammatory cascades, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), may be underestimated because such mediators are short acting and prone to fluctuations. We evaluated associations of long-term circulating IL-6 levels with CHD risk (defined as nonfatal myocardial infarction [MI] or fatal CHD) in two population-based cohorts, involving serial measurements to enable correction for within-person variability. We updated a systematic review to put the new findings in context.
Methods and Findings
Measurements were made in samples obtained at baseline from 2,138 patients who had a first-ever nonfatal MI or died of CHD during follow-up, and from 4,267 controls in two cohorts comprising 24,230 participants. Correction for within-person variability was made using data from repeat measurements taken several years apart in several hundred participants. The year-to-year variability of IL-6 values within individuals was relatively high (regression dilution ratios of 0.41, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.28–0.53, over 4 y, and 0.35, 95% CI 0.23–0.48, over 12 y). Ignoring this variability, we found an odds ratio for CHD, adjusted for several established risk factors, of 1.46 (95% CI 1.29–1.65) per 2 standard deviation (SD) increase of baseline IL-6 values, similar to that for baseline C-reactive protein. After correction for within-person variability, the odds ratio for CHD was 2.14 (95% CI 1.45–3.15) with long-term average (“usual”) IL-6, similar to those for some established risk factors. Increasing IL-6 levels were associated with progressively increasing CHD risk. An updated systematic review of electronic databases and other sources identified 15 relevant previous population-based prospective studies of IL-6 and clinical coronary outcomes (i.e., MI or coronary death). Including the two current studies, the 17 available prospective studies gave a combined odds ratio of 1.61 (95% CI 1.42–1.83) per 2 SD increase in baseline IL-6 (corresponding to an odds ratio of 3.34 [95% CI 2.45–4.56] per 2 SD increase in usual [long-term average] IL-6 levels).
Long-term IL-6 levels are associated with CHD risk about as strongly as are some major established risk factors, but causality remains uncertain. These findings highlight the potential relevance of IL-6–mediated pathways to CHD.
John Danesh and colleagues show that long-term IL-6 levels are associated with coronary heart disease risk, thus highlighting the potential relevance of IL-6−mediated pathways to coronary heart disease.
Editors' Summary
Coronary heart disease (CHD), the leading cause of death among adults in developed countries, kills one person in the US every minute. With age, “atherosclerotic plaques”—deposits of fats, calcium, and various cellular waste products—coat the walls of arteries, causing them to narrow and harden, interrupting blood flow through the body. When this occurs in the coronary arteries, which nourish the heart muscle, the end result is CHD. If a plaque breaks off the artery wall, it can get trapped in the arteries and completely stop the blood flow, causing death of the heart muscle. The technical term for this is “myocardial infarction” (MI), although it is more commonly known as a heart attack. Smoking, high blood pressure, high blood levels of cholesterol (a type of fat), being overweight, and being physically inactive all increase the risk of developing CHD, as do some inherited factors. Treatments for CHD include lifestyle changes (for example, losing weight and exercising regularly) and medications that lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol. In the worst cases, the narrowed artery can be widened using a device called a stent or surgically bypassed.
Why Was This Study Done?
Atherosclerosis might, at least partly, be an inflammatory condition. Inflammation—an immune response to injury characterized by swelling and redness—involves the production of proteins called “cytokines,” which attract cells of the immune system to the site of injury. In atherosclerosis, damage to the artery walls seems to trigger inflammation, which helps the atherosclerotic plaques grow. Because of the potential involvement of inflammation in atherosclerosis, increased levels of circulating cytokines might be associated with an increased risk of CHD. If they are, cytokines might provide a new therapeutic target for the treatment of CHD. In this study, the researchers have asked whether prolonged moderate increases in the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the bloodstream are associated with CHD risk. IL-6, which is produced very early in inflammation, survives only briefly in the human body and its levels fluctuate within individuals. Consequently, its relevance to CHD has been unclear in previous studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between 1967 and 1991, nearly 25,000 healthy, mainly middle-aged people were enrolled into two studies—the Reykjavik Study and the British Regional Heart Study—and followed for about 20 years, during which time 2,138 people had a first-ever nonfatal heart attack or died of CHD. The researchers measured baseline IL-6 blood levels in these participants and in 4,267 similar participants who had not had a CHD event. They also measured IL-6 levels in 558 healthy participants several years into the study to determine a “regression dilution ratio” for IL-6. This ratio gives an idea of the year-to-year consistency of IL-6 levels. When the researchers used this ratio to estimate the impact of prolonged increases in IL-6 levels on CHD, they found that increased long-term IL-6 levels more than doubled the risk for CHD in their study populations. The researchers then combined these new results with those of 15 previous relevant studies. This combined analysis indicated very similar findings to those in the new data.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate prolonged moderate increases in IL-6 levels are associated with risk of CHD as strongly as several major established risk factors, including blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, but whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship remains unknown. More studies are needed to find out whether this result is generalisable to other populations, but the broad agreement between the Icelandic and British studies suggests that they should be. This study renews interest in IL-6–mediated inflammatory pathways and CHD.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Read a related PLoS Medicine Perspective article
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis (in English and Spanish)
Information is available from the US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute on coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis
Information for patients and caregivers is provided by the American Heart Association on all aspects of heart disease, including inflammation and heart disease
Information is available from the British Heart Foundation on heart disease and on keeping the heart healthy
Further details are available about the Reykjavik Study and the British Regional Heart Study
Wikipedia has pages on inflammation and on interleukin-6 (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC2288623  PMID: 18399716
21.  Association of Race and Sex With Risk of Incident Acute Coronary Heart Disease Events 
It is unknown whether long-standing disparities in incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) among US blacks and whites persist.
To examine incident CHD by black and white race and by sex.
Prospective cohort study of 24 443 participants without CHD at baseline from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort, who resided in the continental United States and were enrolled between 2003 and 2007 with follow-up through December 31, 2009.
Expert-adjudicated total (fatal and nonfatal) CHD, fatal CHD, and nonfatal CHD (definite or probable myocardial infarction [MI]; very small non–ST-elevation MI [NSTEMI] had peak troponin level <0.5 µg/L).
Over a mean (SD) of 4.2 (1.5) years of follow-up, 659 incident CHD events occurred (153 in black men, 138 in black women, 254 in white men, and 114 in white women). Among men, the age-standardized incidence rate per 1000 person-years for total CHD was 9.0 (95% CI, 7.5–10.8) for blacks vs 8.1 (95% CI, 6.9–9.4) for whites; fatal CHD: 4.0 (95% CI, 2.9–5.3) vs 1.9 (95% CI, 1.4–2.6), respectively; and nonfatal CHD: 4.9 (95% CI, 3.8–6.2) vs 6.2 (95% CI, 5.2–7.4). Among women, the age-standardized incidence rate per 1000 person-years for total CHD was 5.0 (95% CI, 4.2–6.1) for blacks vs 3.4 (95% CI, 2.8–4.2) for whites; fatal CHD: 2.0 (95% CI, 1.5–2.7) vs 1.0 (95% CI, 0.7–1.5), respectively; and nonfatal CHD: 2.8 (95% CI, 2.2–3.7) vs 2.2 (95% CI, 1.7–2.9). Age- and region-adjusted hazard ratios for fatal CHD among blacks vs whites was near 2.0 for both men and women and became statistically nonsignificant after multivariable adjustment. The multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio for incident nonfatal CHD for blacks vs whites was 0.68 (95% CI, 0.51–0.91) for men and 0.81 (95% CI, 0.58–1.15) for women. Of the 444 nonfatal CHD events, 139 participants (31.3%) had very small NSTEMIs.
The higher risk of fatal CHD among blacks compared with whites was associated with cardiovascular disease risk factor burden. These relationships may differ by sex.
PMCID: PMC3772637  PMID: 23117777
coronary heart disease; epidemiology; racial disparities; disease incidence; cohort study
22.  The future impact of population growth and aging on coronary heart disease in China: projections from the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model-China 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:394.
China will experience an overall growth and aging of its adult population in coming decades. We used a computer model to forecast the future impact of these demographic changes on coronary heart disease (CHD) in China.
The CHD Policy Model is a validated state-transition, computer simulation of CHD on a national scale. China-specific CHD risk factor, incidence, case-fatality, and prevalence data were incorporated, and a CHD prediction model was generated from a Chinese cohort study and calibrated to age-specific Chinese mortality rates. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) due to CHD were calculated using standard methods. The projected population of China aged 35–84 years was entered, and CHD events, deaths, and DALYs were simulated over 2000–2029. CHD risk factors other than age and case-fatality were held at year 2000 levels. Sensitivity analyses tested uncertainty regarding CHD mortality coding, the proportion of total deaths attributable to CHD, and case-fatality.
We predicted 7.8 million excess CHD events (a 69% increase) and 3.4 million excess CHD deaths (a 64% increase) in the decade 2020–2029 compared with 2000–2009. For 2030, we predicted 71% of almost one million annual CHD deaths will occur in persons ≥65 years old, while 67% of the growing annual burden of CHD death and disability will weigh on adults <65 years old. Substituting alternate CHD mortality assumptions led to 17–20% more predicted CHD deaths over 2000–2029, though the pattern of increases in CHD events and deaths over time remained.
We forecast that absolute numbers of CHD events and deaths will increase dramatically in China over 2010–2029, due to a growing and aging population alone. Recent data suggest CHD risk factor levels are increasing, so our projections may underestimate the extent of the potential CHD epidemic in China.
PMCID: PMC2631484  PMID: 19036167
23.  Lifetime risk of developing coronary heart disease in Aboriginal Australians: a cohort study 
BMJ Open  2013;3(1):e002308.
Lifetime risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) is an important yardstick by which policy makers, clinicians and the general public can assess and promote the awareness and prevention of CHD. The lifetime risk in Aboriginal people is not known. Using a cohort with up to 20 years of follow-up, we estimated the lifetime risk of CHD in Aboriginal people.
A cohort study.
A remote Aboriginal region.
1115 Aboriginal people from one remote tribal group who were free from CHD at baseline were followed for up to 20 years.
Main outcome measures
During the follow-up period, new CHD incident cases were identified through hospital and death records. We estimated the lifetime risks of CHD with and without adjusting for the presence of competing risk of death from non-CHD causes.
Participants were followed up for 17 126 person-years, during which 185 developed CHD and 144 died from non-CHD causes. The average age at which the first CHD event occurred was 48 years for men and 49 years for women. The risk of developing CHD increased with age until 60 years and then decreased with age. Lifetime cumulative risk without adjusting for competing risk was 70.7% for men and 63.8% for women. Adjusting for the presence of competing risk of death from non-CHD causes, the lifetime risk of CHD was 52.6% for men and 49.2% for women.
Lifetime risk of CHD is as high as one in two in both Aboriginal men and women. The average age of having first CHD events was under 50 years, much younger than that reported in non-Aboriginal populations. Our data provide useful knowledge for health education, screening and prevention of CHD in Aboriginal people.
PMCID: PMC3563122  PMID: 23370013
Epidemiology; Public Health
24.  Interplay Between Different Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Men 
Circulation  2005;111(2):157-164.
Background—Consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may reduce coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, but n-6 PUFAs may compete with n-3 PUFA metabolism and attenuate benefits. Additionally, seafood-based, long-chain n-3 PUFAs may modify the effects of plant-based, intermediate-chain n-3 PUFAs. However, the interactions of these PUFAs in relation to CHD risk are not well established.
Methods and Results—Among 45 722 men free of known cardiovascular disease in 1986, usual dietary intake was assessed at baseline and every 4 years by using validated food-frequency questionnaires. CHD incidence was prospectively ascertained. Over 14 years of follow-up, participants experienced 218 sudden deaths, 1521 nonfatal myocardial infarctions (MIs), and 2306 total CHD events (combined sudden death, other CHD deaths, and nonfatal MI). In multivariate-adjusted analyses, both long-chain and intermediate-chain n-3 PUFA intakes were associated with lower CHD risk, without modification by n-6 PUFA intake. For example, men with ≥ median long-chain n-3 PUFA intake (≥ 250 mg/d) had a reduced risk of sudden death whether n-6 PUFA intake was below (<11.2 g/d; hazard ratio [HR] = 0.52; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.34 to 0.79) or above (≥ 11.2 g/d; HR = 0.60; 95% CI = 0.39 to 0.93) the median compared with men with a < median intake of both. In similar analyses, ≥ median intake of intermediate-chain n-3 PUFAs (≥ 1080 mg/d) was associated with a reduced total CHD risk whether n-6 PUFA intake was lower (HR = 0.88; 95% CI = 0.78 to 0.99) or higher (HR = 0.89; 95% CI = 0.79 to 0.99) compared with a < median intake of both. Intermediate-chain n-3 PUFAs were particularly associated with CHD risk when long-chain n-3 PUFA intake was very low (<100 mg/d); among these men, each 1 g/d of intermediate-chain n-3 PUFA intake was associated with an ≈ 50% lower risk of nonfatal MI (HR = 0.42; 95% CI = 0.23 to 0.75) and total CHD (HR = 0.53; 95% CI = 0.34 to 0.83).
Conclusions—n-3 PUFAs from both seafood and plant sources may reduce CHD risk, with little apparent influence from background n-6 PUFA intake. Plant-based n-3 PUFAs may particularly reduce CHD risk when seafood-based n-3 PUFA intake is low, which has implications for populations with low consumption or availability of fatty fish.
PMCID: PMC1201401  PMID: 15630029
coronary disease; diet; fatty acids; nutrition
25.  Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) after Liver Transplantation in HIV/ HCV Coinfected versus HIV/non-HCV Infected Recipients: Results from the NIH Multi-Site Study 
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are both associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD), a major complication after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). The aim of this study was to assess predictors of post-OLT CKD in HIV/HCV coinfected versus HIV/non-HCV infected recipients.
Data from the NIH Solid Organ Transplantation in HIV: Multi-Site Study of 116 OLT recipients (35 HIV/non-HCV and 81 HIV/HCV co-infected) from 2003 to 2010 were analyzed for pre-transplant CKD prevalence (estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) < 60 ml/min for ≥ 3 months) and incidence of CKD up to 3 years post-transplant. Proportional hazards models were performed to assess predictors of post-transplant CKD. A contemporaneous cohort of HCV monoinfected transplant recipients from the SRTR database was also analyzed.
Median age at transplant was 48 years, serum creatinine was 1.1 mg/dl, and median eGFR was 77 ml/min. Thirty-four patients had suspected pre-transplant CKD; 20 of these (59%) had post-transplant CKD. Among the 82 patients without pre-transplant CKD (26 HIV/non-HCV and 56 HIV/HCV coinfected), the cumulative incidence of stage 3 CKD at 3 years post-OLT was 62% (55% HIV/non-HCV versus 65% HIV/HCV coinfected) and stage 4/5 CKD was 8% (0% HIV/non-HCV versus 12% HIV/HCV coinfected). In multivariate proportional hazards analysis, older age (HR 1.05 per year; p 0.03) and CD4 count (HR 0.90 per 50 cells/µL; p 0.01) were significant predictors of CKD. HCV coinfection was significantly associated with stage 4/5 CKD (HR 10.8; p 0.03) after adjustment for age on multivariate analysis. The cumulative incidence of stage 4/5 CKD was significantly higher in HIV/HCV coinfected patients compared to HIV/non-HCV and HCV monoinfected transplant recipients (p=0.001).
CKD occurs frequently in HIV infected transplant recipients. Predictors of post-transplant CKD include older age, and lower post-transplant CD4 count. HCV co-infection is associated with a higher incidence of stage 4/5 CKD.
PMCID: PMC3667971  PMID: 23512786

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