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author:("Butt, adee A.")
1.  HIV Infection and the Risk of Acute Myocardial Infarction 
JAMA internal medicine  2013;173(8):614-622.
Whether people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) compared with uninfected people is not clear. Without demographically and behaviorally similar uninfected comparators and without uniformly measured clinical data on risk factors and fatal and nonfatal AMI events, any potential association between HIV status and AMI may be confounded.
To investigate whether HIV is associated with an increased risk of AMI after adjustment for all standard Framingham risk factors among a large cohort of HIV-positive and demographically and behaviorally similar (ie, similar prevalence of smoking, alcohol, and cocaine use) uninfected veterans in care.
Design and Setting
Participants in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study Virtual Cohort from April 1, 2003, through December 31, 2009.
After eliminating those with baseline cardiovascular disease, we analyzed data on HIV status, age, sex, race/ethnicity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, smoking, hepatitis C infection, body mass index, renal disease, anemia, substance use, CD4 cell count, HIV-1 RNA, antiretroviral therapy, and incidence of AMI.
Main Outcome Measure
Acute myocardial infarction.
We analyzed data on 82 459 participants. During a median follow-up of 5.9 years, there were 871 AMI events. Across 3 decades of age, the mean (95% CI) AMI events per 1000 person-years was consistently and significantly higher for HIV-positive compared with uninfected veterans: for those aged 40 to 49 years, 2.0 (1.6-2.4) vs 1.5 (1.3-1.7); for those aged 50 to 59 years, 3.9 (3.3-4.5) vs 2.2 (1.9-2.5); and for those aged 60 to 69 years, 5.0 (3.8-6.7) vs 3.3 (2.6-4.2) (P < .05 for all). After adjusting for Framingham risk factors, comorbidities, and substance use, HIV-positive veterans had an increased risk of incident AMI compared with uninfected veterans (hazard ratio, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.27-1.72). An excess risk remained among those achieving an HIV-1 RNA level less than 500 copies/mL compared with uninfected veterans in time-updated analyses (hazard ratio, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.17-1.66).
Conclusions and Relevance
Infection with HIV is associated with a 50% increased risk of AMI beyond that explained by recognized risk factors.
PMCID: PMC4766798  PMID: 23459863
2.  Human immunodeficiency virus infection, cardiovascular risk factor profile and risk for acute myocardial infarction 
Traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors (CVDRFs) increase the risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) among HIV infected (HIV+) patients. We assessed the association between HIV and incident AMI within CVDRF strata.
81322 participants (33% HIV+) without prevalent CVD from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study-Virtual Cohort (prospective study of HIV+ and matched HIV− veterans). Veterans were followed from first clinical encounter on/after 4/1/2003 until AMI/death/last follow-up date (12/31/2009).
HIV, CVDRFs (total cholesterol, cholesterol-lowering agents, blood-pressure (BP), BP medication, smoking, diabetes) used to create 6 mutually exclusive profiles: all CVDRFs optimal, 1+ non-optimal CVDRFs, 1+ elevated CVDRFs, and 1, 2, 3+ major CVDRFs.
Incident AMI (defined using enzyme, EKG clinical data, 410 inpatient ICD-9 (Medicare), and/or death certificates). Statistics: Cox models adjusted for demographics, comorbidity, and substance use.
858 AMIs (42% HIV+) occurred over 5.9 years (median). Prevalence of optimal cardiac health was <2%. Optimal CVDRF profile was associated with the lowest adjusted AMI rates. Compared to HIV− veterans, AMI rates among HIV+ veterans with similar CVDRF profiles were higher. Compared to HIV− veterans without major CVDRFs, HIV+ veterans without major CVDRFs had a 2-fold increased risk of AMI (HR: 2.0 95%CI: 1.0–3.9, p=0.044).
The prevalence of optimal cardiac health is low in this cohort. Among those without major CVDRFs, HIV+ veterans have twice the AMI risk. Compared to HIV− veterans with high CVDRF burden, AMI rates were still higher in HIV+ veterans. Preventing/reducing CVDRF burden may reduce excess AMI risk among HIV+ people.
PMCID: PMC4441201  PMID: 25588033
HIV; optimal cardiovascular health; myocardial infarction
4.  Changes in circulating lipids level over time after acquiring HCV infection: results from ERCHIVES 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:510.
Changes in lipid levels over time after acquiring HCV infection, and how they differ from HCV-uninfected persons are unknown.
We used ERCHIVES to identify those with a known HCV seroconversion window and persistently negative controls. We excluded subjects with HIV and hepatitis B and those who received lipid lowering agents. Total Cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoproteins (LDL), high-density lipoproteins (HDL), triglycerides (TG) and non-HDL cholesterol were retrieved at yearly intervals and plotted over time.
Among 1,270 HCV+ and 5,070 HCV- subjects, median age [IQR] was 47[37,53] for HCV+ and 52[47,57] for the HCV- group; 69 % were White and 91 % were males in each group. Mean BMI [SD] was 26.94[6.73] in the HCV+ and 28.15 [5.98] in the HCV- group (P < 0.001). Over a 10-year follow-up period among HCV+ persons, TC decreased by (mean (SD) mg/dL) 12.06(36.95), LDL by 9.22(31.44), TG by 13.58(87.01) and non-HDL-C by 12.55(35.14). Among HCV- persons, TC cholesterol decreased by 4.15(31.21), LDL by 4.16(26.51); TG by 4.42(82.34) and non-HDL-C by 5.78(30.17).
After HCV acquisition, TC, LDL, TG and non-HDL-C progressively decline over time independent of BMI and liver fibrosis. Consequences of lipid changes and the need and optimal timing of lipid lowering therapy in HCV+ persons require further study.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12879-015-1268-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4642733  PMID: 26558512
HCV; Lipid; Cholesterol; LDL; ERCHIVES; Seroconversion
5.  Fosfomycin Resistance in Escherichia coli, Pennsylvania, USA 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2015;21(11):2045-2047.
Fosfomycin resistance in Escherichia coli is rare in the United States. An extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing E. coli clinical strain identified in Pennsylvania, USA, showed high-level fosfomycin resistance caused by the fosA3 gene. The IncFII plasmid carrying this gene had a structure similar to those found in China, where fosfomycin resistance is commonly described.
PMCID: PMC4622254  PMID: 26488485
fosfomycin resistance; antimicrobial resistance; fosA3 gene; glutathione S-transferase; extended-spectrum β-lactamase; ESBL; 16S rRNA methyltransferase; Escherichia coli; bacteria; plasmids; Pennsylvania; United States
6.  Lipid dysregulation in hepatitis C virus, and impact of statin therapy upon clinical outcomes 
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease and the leading indication for liver transplantation worldwide. Every aspect of the HCV life cycle is closely tied to human lipid metabolism. The virus circulates as a lipid-rich particle, utilizing lipoprotein cell receptors to gain entry into the hepatocyte. It has also been shown to upregulate lipid biosynthesis and impair lipid degradation, resulting in significant intracellular lipid accumulation and circulating hypocholesterolemia. Patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) are at increased risk of hepatic steatosis, fibrosis, and cardiovascular disease including accelerated atherosclerosis. HMG CoA Reductase inhibitors, or statins, have been shown to play an important role in the modulation of hepatic steatosis and fibrosis, and recent attention has focused upon their potential therapeutic role in CHC. This article reviews the hepatitis C viral life cycle as it impacts host lipoproteins and lipid metabolism. It then describes the pathogenesis of HCV-related hepatic steatosis, hypocholesterolemia and atherosclerosis, and finally describes the promising anti-viral and anti-fibrotic effects of statins, for the treatment of CHC.
PMCID: PMC4507099  PMID: 26217081
Hepatitis C virus; Lipid profiles; Cholesterol; Statin; Fibrosis; Cirrhosis
7.  Disparities in Rates of Spine Surgery for Degenerative Spine Disease Between HIV Infected and Uninfected Veterans 
Spine  2012;37(7):612-622.
Study Design
Retrospective analysis of nationwide Veterans Health Administration (VA) clinical and administrative data.
Examine the association between HIV infection and the rate of spine surgery for degenerative spine disease.
Summary of Background Data
Combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART) has prolonged survival in patients with HIV/AIDS, increasing the prevalence of chronic conditions such as degenerative spine disease that may require spine surgery.
We studied all HIV infected patients under care in the VA from 1996–2008 (n=40,038) and uninfected comparator patients (n=79,039) matched on age, gender, race, year, and geographic region. The primary outcome was spine surgery for degenerative spine disease defined by ICD-9 procedure and diagnosis codes. We used a multivariate Poisson regression to model spine surgery rates by HIV infection status, adjusting for factors that might affect suitability for surgery (demographics, year, comorbidities, body mass index, cART, and laboratory values).
Two-hundred twenty eight HIV infected and 784 uninfected patients underwent spine surgery for degenerative spine disease during 700,731 patient-years of follow-up (1.44 surgeries per 1,000 patient-years). The most common procedures were spinal decompression (50%), and decompression and fusion (33%); the most common surgical sites were the lumbosacral (50%), and cervical (40%) spine. Adjusted rates of surgery were lower for HIV infected patients (0.86 per 1,000 patient-years of follow-up) than for uninfected patients (1.41 per 1,000 patient-years; IRR 0.61, 95% CI: 0.51, 0.74, P<0.001). Among HIV infected patients, there was a trend towards lower rates of spine surgery in patients with detectable viral loads levels (IRR 0.76, 95% CI: 0.55, 1.05, P=0.099).
In the VA, HIV infected patients experience significantly reduced rates of surgery for degenerative spine disease. Possible explanations include disease prevalence, emphasis on treatment of non-spine HIV-related symptoms, surgical referral patterns, impact of HIV on surgery risk-benefit ratio, patient preferences, and surgeon bias.
PMCID: PMC4507821  PMID: 21697770
disparities; HIV/AIDS; spine; surgery; outcomes
8.  Predicting Risk of End-Stage Liver Disease in Antiretroviral-Treated Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Hepatitis C Virus-Coinfected Patients 
Open Forum Infectious Diseases  2015;2(3):ofv109.
Background. End-stage liver disease (ESLD) is an important cause of morbidity among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/hepatitis C virus (HCV)-coinfected patients. Quantifying the risk of this outcome over time could help determine which coinfected patients should be targeted for risk factor modification and HCV treatment. We evaluated demographic, clinical, and laboratory variables to predict risk of ESLD in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Methods. We conducted a retrospective cohort study among 6016 HIV/HCV-coinfected patients who received ART within the Veterans Health Administration between 1997 and 2010. The main outcome was incident ESLD, defined by hepatic decompensation, hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver-related death. Cox regression was used to develop prognostic models based on baseline demographic, clinical, and laboratory variables, including FIB-4 and aspartate aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio index, previously validated markers of hepatic fibrosis. Model performance was assessed by discrimination and decision curve analysis.
Results. Among 6016 HIV/HCV patients, 532 (8.8%) developed ESLD over a median of 6.6 years. A model comprising FIB-4 and race had modest discrimination for ESLD (c-statistic, 0.73) and higher net benefit than alternative strategies of treating no or all coinfected patients at relevant risk thresholds. For FIB-4 >3.25, ESLD risk ranged from 7.9% at 1 year to 26.0% at 5 years among non-blacks and from 2.4% at 1 year to 14.0% at 5 years among blacks.
Conclusions. Race and FIB-4 provided important predictive information on ESLD risk among HIV/HCV patients. Estimating risk of ESLD using these variables could help direct HCV treatment decisions among HIV/HCV-coinfected patients.
PMCID: PMC4536329  PMID: 26284259
end-stage liver disease; hepatic decompensation; HIV; hepatitis C; HIV/HCV coinfection
9.  HIV Infection, Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation and Longitudinal Changes in Biomarkers of Organ Function§ 
Current HIV research  2014;12(1):50-59.
HIV is associated with end-organ diseases of aging via unclear mechanisms. Longitudinally assessing how HIV infection and ART initiation affect biomarkers of end organ function/disease could clarify these mechanisms. We investigated longitudinal changes in clinical biomarkers following 1) HIV infection and 2) ART initiation with evidence of viral suppression.
Cohort: Veterans Aging Cohort Study Virtual Cohort (VACS VC). VACS VC is a longitudinal cohort of HIV infected (HIV+) and race-ethnicity, sex, age, and clinical site-matched uninfected Veterans enrolled in the same calendar year. Inclusion criteria: a negative and successively positive (>six months) HIV antibody test. We used Wilcoxon signed-rank tests to analyze 1) the effect of HIV infection on lipids, renal, hepatic and hematologic/cardiovascular biomarkers and 2)whether ART initiation with HIV-1 RNA<500 cpm reverts any changes back to pre-HIV levels
422 Veterans had at least 1 biomarker measurement available prior to HIV infection and prior to ART initiation. 297 had at least 1 biomarker measurement available prior to HIV infection and after ART initiation with evidence of viral suppression. Mean age prior to HIV infection was 43 years. HIV infection was associated with reduction in total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, serum albumin, ALT, platelet count, hemoglobin and elevation of FIB-4 score and triglycerides. These changes occurred without significant changes in BMI. ART initiation (with HIV-1 RNA<500cpm) did not reverse alteration in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, hemoglobin, or FIB-4 to pre-HIV infection levels.
HIV infection is associated with longitudinal changes in serum levels of several biomarkers of end-organ function/disease and mortality. Multiple biomarkers (triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, hemoglobin, and FIB-4) remain altered from levels prior to HIV infection levels even following inititiation of ART and evidence of viral suppression. These results give insights into underlying mechanisms of increased risk for aging-related chronic diseases in the context of HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC4495647  PMID: 25034208
Clinical biomarkers; chronic diseases of aging; HIV infection; lipids
10.  Antiretroviral Therapy Reduces the Rate of Hepatic Decompensation Among HIV- and Hepatitis C Virus–Coinfected Veterans 
We used marginal structural models to evaluate the rate of hepatic decompensation by initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) in a population of HIV/hepatitis C virus–coinfected male veterans, and found a 28%–41% reduction among ART initiators.
Background. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection accelerates the rate of liver disease outcomes in individuals chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). It remains unclear to what degree combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) protects against HCV-associated liver failure.
Methods. We evaluated 10 090 HIV/HCV-coinfected males from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study Virtual Cohort, who had not initiated ART at entry, for incident hepatic decompensation between 1996 and 2010. We defined ART initiation as the first pharmacy fill date of a qualifying ART regimen of ≥3 drugs from ≥2 classes. Hepatic decompensation was defined as the first occurrence of 1 hospital discharge diagnosis or 2 outpatient diagnoses for ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, or esophageal variceal hemorrhage. To account for potential confounding by indication, marginal structural models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) of hepatic decompensation, comparing initiation of ART to noninitiation.
Results. We observed 645 hepatic decompensation events in 46 444 person-years of follow-up (incidence rate, 1.4/100 person-years). Coinfected patients who initiated ART had a significantly reduced rate of hepatic decompensation relative to noninitiators (HR = 0.72; 95% confidence interval [CI], .54–.94). When we removed individuals with HIV RNA ≤400 copies/mL at baseline from the analysis (assuming that they may have received undocumented ART at entry), the hazard ratio became more pronounced (HR = 0.59; 95% CI, .43–.82).
Conclusions. Initiation of ART significantly reduced the rate of hepatic decompensation by 28%–41% on average. These results suggest that ART should be administered to HIV/HCV-coinfected patients to lower the risk of end-stage liver disease.
PMCID: PMC3922212  PMID: 24285848
HIV; hepatitis C; coinfection; hepatic decompensation; marginal structural model
11.  Synergistic effect of pH-responsive folate-functionalized poloxamer 407-TPGS-mixed micelles on targeted delivery of anticancer drugs 
Doxorubicin (DOX), an anthracycline anticancer antibiotic, is used for treating various types of cancers. However, its use is associated with toxicity to normal cells and development of resistance due to overexpression of drug efflux pumps. Poloxamer 407 (P407) and vitamin E TPGS (D-α-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol succinate, TPGS) are widely used polymers as drug delivery carriers and excipients for enhancing the drug retention times and stability. TPGS reduces multidrug resistance, induces apoptosis, and shows selective anticancer activity against tumor cells. Keeping in view the problems, we designed a mixed micelle system encapsulating DOX comprising TPGS for its selective anticancer activity and P407 conjugated with folic acid (FA) for folate-mediated receptor targeting to cancer cells.
FA-functionalized P407 was prepared by carbodiimide crosslinker chemistry. P407-TPGS/FA-P407-TPGS-mixed micelles were prepared by thin-film hydration method. Cytotoxicity of blank micelles, DOX, and DOX-loaded micelles was determined by alamarBlue® assay.
The size of micelles was less than 200 nm with encapsulation efficiency of 85% and 73% for P407-TPGS and FA-P407-TPGS micelles, respectively. Intracellular trafficking study using nile red-loaded micelles indicated improved drug uptake and perinuclear drug localization. The micelles show minimal toxicity to normal human cell line WRL-68, enhanced cellular uptake of DOX, reduced drug efflux, increased DOX–DNA binding in SKOV3 and DOX-resistant SKOV3 human ovarian carcinoma cell lines, and enhanced in vitro cytotoxicity as compared to free DOX.
FA-P407-TPGS-DOX micelles show potential as a targeted nano-drug delivery system for DOX due to their multiple synergistic factors of selective anticancer activity, inhibition of multidrug resistance, and folate-mediated selective uptake.
PMCID: PMC4335624  PMID: 25709451
doxorubicin nanocarriers; folate targeting; doxorubicin cytotoxicity; synergistic drug delivery; Pgp-inhibiting micelles
12.  CD8+ T-Cells Count in Acute Myocardial Infarction in HIV Disease in a Predominantly Male Cohort 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:246870.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus- (HIV-) infected persons have a higher risk for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) than HIV-uninfected persons. Earlier studies suggest that HIV viral load, CD4+ T-cell count, and antiretroviral therapy are associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Whether CD8+ T-cell count is associated with CVD risk is not clear. We investigated the association between CD8+ T-cell count and incident AMI in a cohort of 73,398 people (of which 97.3% were men) enrolled in the U.S. Veterans Aging Cohort Study-Virtual Cohort (VACS-VC). Compared to uninfected people, HIV-infected people with high baseline CD8+ T-cell counts (>1065 cells/mm3) had increased AMI risk (adjusted HR = 1.82, P < 0.001, 95% CI: 1.46 to 2.28). There was evidence that the effect of CD8+ T-cell tertiles on AMI risk differed by CD4+ T-cell level: compared to uninfected people, HIV-infected people with CD4+ T-cell counts ≥200 cells/mm3 had increased AMI risk with high CD8+ T-cell count, while those with CD4+ T-cell counts <200 cells/mm3 had increased AMI risk with low CD8+ T-cell count. CD8+ T-cell counts may add additional AMI risk stratification information beyond that provided by CD4+ T-cell counts alone.
PMCID: PMC4320893  PMID: 25688354
13.  Medical ICU Admission Diagnoses and Outcomes in Human Immunodeficiency Virus–Infected and Virus–Uninfected Veterans in the Combination Antiretroviral Era 
Critical care medicine  2013;41(6):1458-1467.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected (HIV+) patients on combination antiretroviral therapy are living longer but have increased risk for aging-associated disease which may lead to increasing critical care requirements. We compare medical ICU admission characteristics and outcomes among HIV infected and demographically similar uninfected patients (uninfected) and considered whether an index which combines routine clinical biomarkers (the Veterans Aging Cohort Study Index) predicts 30-day medical ICU mortality.
Observational data analyses (Veterans Aging Cohort Study).
Eight Veterans Affairs medical centers nationwide.
HIV infected and uninfected with a medical ICU admission between 2002 and 2010.
Measurements and Main Results
Medical ICU admission was determined using bedsection (Veterans Affairs) and revenue center codes (Medicare). For Veterans Affairs admissions, we used clinical data to calculate Veterans Aging Cohort Study Index scores and multivariable logistic regression to determine factors associated with 30-day mortality. Overall, 539 of 3,620 (15%) HIV infected and 375 of 3,639 (10%) uninfected had a medical ICU admission; 72% and 78%, respectively, were Veterans Affairs based. HIV+ patients were younger at admission (p < 0.0001). Although most HIV+ patients were on antiretroviral therapy (71%) with undetectable HIV-1 RNA (54%), compared with uninfected they were more commonly admitted with respiratory diagnoses or infections (21% vs. 12%), were more likely to require mechanical ventilation (17% vs. 9%; p = 0.001), and had a higher mortality rate (18.6% vs. 11.2%, p = 0.003). Cardiovascular diagnoses were less common among HIV infected (18% vs. 29%; p < 0.0001). In logistic regression (c-statistic 0.87), a 5-point increment in Veterans Aging Cohort Study Index was associated with an odds ratio of death of 1.22 (95% confidence interval 1.14–1.30) among HIV infected and of 1.50 (95% confidence interval 1.29–1.76) among uninfected; infection/sepsis and respiratory diagnoses were also associated with mortality.
Medical ICU admission was frequent, 30-day mortality higher, and mechanical ventilation more common in HIV infected compared with uninfected. The Veterans Aging Cohort Study Index calculated at medical ICU admission predicted 30-day mortality for HIV infected and uninfected. As more individuals age with HIV, their requirements for medical ICU care may be greater than demographically similar uninfected individuals.
PMCID: PMC4283206  PMID: 23507717
30-day mortality; comorbidity; human immunodeficiency virus; medical ICU; Veterans Aging Cohort Study Index
14.  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
15.  The Effect of Hepatitis C Virologic Clearance on Cardiovascular Disease Biomarkers in Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Hepatitis C Virus Coinfection 
Open Forum Infectious Diseases  2014;1(3):ofu104.
 Successful hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment may reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and improve levels of CVD biomarkers produced outside the liver (nonhepatic biomarkers).
 Stored serum or plasma from before and 24 weeks after end of HCV treatment (EOT) from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/HCV-coinfected subjects who received up to 72 weeks of peginterferon/ribavirin, 27 with and 27 without sustained virologic response (SVR) matched by race, ethnicity and sex, were tested for nonhepatic (soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 [sICAM-1], soluble P-selectin [sP-selectin], interleukin [IL]-6, d-dimer, and lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 [Lp-PLA2]) and hepatic (cholesterol and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein) CVD and macrophage activation markers (soluble CD163 [sCD163] and soluble CD14). Changes in biomarkers and their association with SVR were examined by t tests or Wilcoxon tests and regression models.
 Of the 54 subjects, 30 were white, 24 were black, and 44 were male. Pretreatment levels of nonhepatic biomarkers were high: sICAM-1 overall median, 439.2 ng/mL (interquartile range [IQR], 365.6–592.8]; sP-selectin, 146.7 ng/mL (IQR, 94.1–209.9), and IL-6, 2.32 pg/mL (IQR, 1.61–3.49). Thirty-seven of 52 (71%) subjects had Lp-PLA2 >235 ng/mL. Sustained virologic response was associated with decrease in sICAM-1 (P = .033) and sCD163 (P = .042); this result was attenuated after controlling for changes in the alanine aminotransferase level. At 24 weeks after EOT, 17 (63%) SVRs had Lp-PLA2 >235 ng/mL vs 25 (93%) non-SVRs (P = .021).
 Hepatitis C virus clearance may reduce hepatic and, subsequently, systemic inflammation and CVD risk in HIV/HCV coinfection.
PMCID: PMC4324212  PMID: 25734172
cholesterol; HIV/HCV coinfection; macrophage activation; sustained virologic response; vascular adhesion molecules
16.  Hepatitis C Viremia and the Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease in HIV-Infected Individuals 
Lucas, Gregory M. | Jing, Yuezhou | Sulkowski, Mark | Abraham, Alison G. | Estrella, Michelle M. | Atta, Mohamed G. | Fine, Derek M. | Klein, Marina B. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Gill, M. John | Moore, Richard D. | Gebo, Kelly A. | Sterling, Timothy R. | Butt, Adeel A. | Kirk, Gregory D. | Benson, Constance A. | Bosch, Ronald J. | Collier, Ann C. | Boswell, Stephen | Grasso, Chris | Mayer, Ken | Hogg, Robert S. | Harrigan, Richard | Montaner, Julio | Cescon, Angela | Brooks, John T. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly A. | Moore, Richard D. | Carey, John T. | Rodriguez, Benigno | Horberg, Michael A. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Horberg, Michael A. | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Goedert, James J. | Jacobson, Lisa P. | Klein, Marina B. | Rourke, Sean B. | Burchell, Ann | Rachlis, Anita R. | Rico, Puerto | Hunter-Mellado, Robert F. | Mayor, Angel M. | Gill, M. John | Deeks, Steven G. | Martin, Jeffrey N. | Patel, Pragna | Brooks, John T. | Saag, Michael S. | Mugavero, Michael J. | Willig, James | Eron, Joseph J. | Napravnik, Sonia | Kitahata, Mari M. | Crane, Heidi M. | Justice, Amy C. | Dubrow, Robert | Fiellin, David | Sterling, Timothy R. | Haas, David | Bebawy, Sally | Turner, Megan | Gange, Stephen J. | Anastos, Kathryn | Moore, Richard D. | Saag, Michael S. | Gange, Stephen J. | Kitahata, Mari M. | McKaig, Rosemary G. | Justice, Amy C. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Moore, Richard D. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Lent, Carol | Kitahata, Mari M. | Van Rompaey, Stephen E. | Crane, Heidi M. | Webster, Eric | Morton, Liz | Simon, Brenda | Gange, Stephen J. | Althoff, Keri N. | Abraham, Alison G. | Lau, Bryan | Zhang, Jinbing | Jing, Jerry | Golub, Elizabeth | Modur, Shari | Hanna, David B. | Rebeiro, Peter | Wong, Cherise | Mendes, Adell
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;208(8):1240-1249.
Background. The role of active hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication in chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk has not been clarified.
Methods. We compared CKD incidence in a large cohort of HIV-infected subjects who were HCV seronegative, HCV viremic (detectable HCV RNA), or HCV aviremic (HCV seropositive, undetectable HCV RNA). Stages 3 and 5 CKD were defined according to standard criteria. Progressive CKD was defined as a sustained 25% glomerular filtration rate (GFR) decrease from baseline to a GFR < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2. We used Cox models to calculate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results. A total of 52 602 HCV seronegative, 9508 HCV viremic, and 913 HCV aviremic subjects were included. Compared with HCV seronegative subjects, HCV viremic subjects were at increased risk for stage 3 CKD (adjusted HR 1.36 [95% CI, 1.26, 1.46]), stage 5 CKD (1.95 [1.64, 2.31]), and progressive CKD (1.31 [1.19, 1.44]), while HCV aviremic subjects were also at increased risk for stage 3 CKD (1.19 [0.98, 1.45]), stage 5 CKD (1.69 [1.07, 2.65]), and progressive CKD (1.31 [1.02, 1.68]).
Conclusions. Compared with HIV-infected subjects who were HCV seronegative, both HCV viremic and HCV aviremic individuals were at increased risk for moderate and advanced CKD.
PMCID: PMC3778973  PMID: 23904290
HIV; hepatitis C virus; chronic kidney disease; hepatitis C RNA; cohort study; glomerular filtration rate; injection drug use
17.  Risk factors for hospitalization and medical intensive care unit (MICU) admission among HIV infected Veterans 
With improved survival of HIV-infected persons on antiretroviral therapy and growing prevalence of non-AIDS diseases, we asked whether the VACS Index, a composite measure of HIV-associated and general organ dysfunction predictive of all-cause mortality, predicts hospitalization and medical intensive care unit (MICU) admission. We also asked whether AIDS and non-AIDS conditions increased risk after accounting for VACS Index score.
We analyzed data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS), a prospective study of HIV-infected Veterans receiving care between 2002–2008. Data were obtained from the electronic medical record, VA administrative databases and patient questionnaires, and were used to identify comorbidities and calculate baseline VACS Index scores. The primary outcome was first hospitalization within 2 years of VACS enrollment. We used multivariable Cox regression to determine risk factors associated with hospitalization and logistic regression to determine risk factors for MICU admission, given hospitalization.
1141/3410 (33.5%) patients were hospitalized within 2 years; 203/1141 (17.8%) included a MICU admission. Median VACS Index scores were 25 (no hospitalization), 34 (hospitalization only) and 51 (MICU). In adjusted analyses, a 5-point increment in VACS Index score was associated with 10% higher risk of hospitalization and MICU admission. In addition to VACS Index score, Hispanic ethnicity, current smoking, hazardous alcohol use, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, diabetes and prior AIDS-defining event predicted hospitalization. Among those hospitalized, VACS Index score, cardiac disease and prior cancer predicted MICU admission.
The VACS Index predicted hospitalization and MICU admission as did current smoking, hazardous alcohol use, and AIDS and certain non-AIDS diagnoses.
PMCID: PMC4182723  PMID: 23111572
HIV; hospitalization; medical intensive care unit (MICU); aging; VACS Index; comorbidity
18.  HIV Infection and Cardiovascular Disease in Women 
HIV infection is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in men. Whether HIV is an independent risk factor for CVD in women has not yet been established.
Methods and Results
We analyzed data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study on 2187 women (32% HIV infected [HIV+]) who were free of CVD at baseline. Participants were followed from their first clinical encounter on or after April 01, 2003 until a CVD event, death, or the last follow‐up date (December 31, 2009). The primary outcome was CVD (acute myocardial infarction [AMI], unstable angina, ischemic stroke, and heart failure). CVD events were defined using clinical data, International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes, and/or death certificate data. We used Cox proportional hazards models to assess the association between HIV and incident CVD, adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, lipids, smoking, blood pressure, diabetes, renal disease, obesity, hepatitis C, and substance use/abuse. Median follow‐up time was 6.0 years. Mean age at baseline of HIV+ and HIV uninfected (HIV−) women was 44.0 versus 43.2 years (P<0.05). Median time to CVD event was 3.1 versus 3.7 years (P=0.11). There were 86 incident CVD events (53%, HIV+): AMI, 13%; unstable angina, 8%; ischemic stroke, 22%; and heart failure, 57%. Incident CVD/1000 person‐years was significantly higher among HIV+ (13.5; 95% confidence interval [CI]=10.1, 18.1) than HIV− women (5.3; 95% CI=3.9, 7.3; P<0.001). HIV+ women had an increased risk of CVD, compared to HIV− (hazard ratio=2.8; 95% CI=1.7, 4.6; P<0.001).
HIV is associated with an increased risk of CVD in women.
PMCID: PMC4323817  PMID: 25324353
AIDS; CVD risk factors; Women
19.  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
Journal of viral hepatitis  2012;19(11):792-800.
Though health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is diminished in HCV/HIV, the relationship between virologic response or maintenance therapy with HRQOL in this population is unknown. ACTG 5178 was a phase 2, randomized trial, with 3 steps: Step 1: all subjects received PEG-IFN/ribavirin (P/R) for 12 weeks. Step 2: subjects who failed to achieve early viral response (EVR) were randomized to PEG-IFN or observational control for an additional 72 weeks. Step 3: subjects with EVR from Step 1 continued on P/R for a total of 72 weeks with 24 weeks follow-up off therapy. HRQOL, symptom distress and depression levels were measured at multiple time points. In Step 1 (n=329), there was a significant decline in HRQOL in all dimensions. In Step 3 (n=169), the overall HRQOL and 3 of its 8 dimensions (general health, role function and pain score) were increased, and achievement of SVR was associated with increased general health and cognitive function. In the Step 2 group (n=85), there was no significant change in HRQOL and no significant difference between groups (PEG-IFN vs. observational control). There was a significant decline in HRQOL during the initial 12 weeks of therapy. Thereafter the HRQOL profile differed for subjects with EVR vs. without EVR. Maintenance therapy with PEG-IFN had no impact on the HRQOL.
PMCID: PMC3468910  PMID: 23043386
HCV; HIV; confection; treatment; health related quality of life
21.  Impact of Peginterferon Alpha and Ribavirin Treatment on Lipid Profiles and Insulin Resistance in Hepatitis C Virus/HIV–Coinfected Persons: The AIDS Clinical Trials Group A5178 Study 
Peginterferon and ribavirin can significantly affect lipid profile and insulin resistance (IR) in hepatitis C virus/human immunodeficiency virus–coinfected persons. Although the lipid profile returns to near pretreatment levels after completion of treatment, our data suggest persistent modest improvement in IR with treatment.
Background. The effect of peginterferon alpha/ribavirin (PEG-IFN/RBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) clearance on lipid and insulin resistance (IR) profiles in HCV/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection is unknown.
Methods. We measured fasting total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C), high-density lipoproteins (HDL-C), triglycerides (TG), glucose, and insulin at defined intervals in the A5178 study (N = 329), a prospective treatment trial in HCV/HIV coinfection. Changes from baseline and the relation between baseline values of these variables to sustained virologic response (SVR) were determined.
Results. Of 182 subjects with metabolic data, 98 achieved early virologic response (EVR) and continued PEG-IFN/RBV. Among those, median pretreatment HCV RNA was 6.6 log10 IU/mL; 73% had HCV genotype 1. Median pretreatment TC was 176 mg/dL (interquartile range [IQR],150–205]; median LDL-C was 99 mg/dL (IQR, 79–123); median HDL-C was 40 mg/dL (IQR, 31–47); and median TG was 147 mg/dL (IQR, 101–221). Median homeostasis model assessment of IR (HOMA-IR) was 3.3 (IQR, 1.7–5.3). The EVRs demonstrated a decline in TC, LDL-C, and HDL-C, whereas TG increased on treatment but returned to near baseline 24 weeks after end of treatment (EOT). The HOMA-IR decline from entry to 24 weeks after EOT was significant among non–sustained virologic responders and nonsignificant among sustained virologic responders; this difference was offset after adjusting for higher HOMA-IR at baseline among the former. Among all 182 subjects, entry LDL-C was associated with SVR in a joint logistic model adjusted for HCV genotype, race, and prior IFN (odds ratio, 1.17 per 10 mg/dL increase; 95% confidence interval, 1.03–1.32), but TC, HDL, TG, and IR were not.
Conclusions. Peginterferon alpha and RBV can significantly affect lipid profile and IR in HCV/HIV–coinfected persons. Although the lipid profile returns to near pretreatment levels after completion of treatment, our data suggest persistent modest improvement in IR with treatment.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00078403.
PMCID: PMC3491848  PMID: 22563020
22.  Comorbid diabetes and the risk of progressive chronic kidney disease in HIV-infected adults: Data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study 
Approximately 15% of HIV-infected individuals have comorbid diabetes. Studies suggest that HIV and diabetes have an additive effect on chronic kidney (CKD) progression; however, this observation may be confounded by differences in traditional CKD risk factors.
We studied a national cohort of HIV-infected and matched HIV-uninfected individuals who received care through the Veterans Healthcare Administration. Subjects were divided into four groups based on baseline HIV and diabetes status, and the rate of progression to an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) < 45ml/min/1.73m2 was compared using Cox-proportional hazards modeling to adjust for CKD risk factors.
31,072 veterans with baseline eGFR ≥ 45ml/min/1.73m2 (10,626 with HIV only, 5,088 with diabetes only, and 1,796 with both) were followed for a median of 5 years. Mean baseline eGFR was 94ml/min/1.73m2, and 7% progressed to an eGFR < 45ml/min/1.73m2. Compared to those without HIV or diabetes, the relative rate of progression was increased in individuals with diabetes only [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 2.48; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.19–2.80], HIV only [HR 2.80, 95% CI 2.50–3.15], and both HIV and diabetes [HR 4.47, 95% CI 3.87–5.17].
Compared to patients with only HIV or diabetes, patients with both diagnoses are at significantly increased risk of progressive CKD even after adjusting for traditional CKD risk factors. Future studies should evaluate the relative contribution of complex comorbidities and accompanying polypharmacy to the risk of CKD in HIV-infected individuals, and prospectively investigate the use of cART, glycemic control, and adjunctive therapy to delay CKD progression.
PMCID: PMC3392432  PMID: 22592587
non-AIDS complications; HIV; chronic kidney disease; diabetes; risk factors
23.  HIV Status, Burden of Comorbid Disease, and Biomarkers of Inflammation, Altered Coagulation, and Monocyte Activation 
We investigated the association between human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and prevalence of elevated biomarkers of inflammation, altered coagulation, and monocyte activation in a cohort of HIV-infected and uninfected veterans who had a comparable burden of comorbid conditions.
Background. Biomarkers of inflammation, altered coagulation, and monocyte activation are associated with mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the general population and among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected people. We compared biomarkers for inflammation, altered coagulation, and monocyte activation between HIV-infected and uninfected people in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS).
Methods. Biomarkers of inflammation (interleukin-6 [IL-6]), altered coagulation (d-dimer), and monocyte activation (soluble CD14 [sCD14]) were measured in blood samples from 1525 HIV-infected and 843 uninfected VACS participants. Logistic regression was used to determine the association between HIV infection and prevalence of elevated (>75th percentile) biomarkers, adjusting for confounding comorbidities.
Results. HIV-infected veterans had less prevalent CVD, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, hazardous drinking, and renal disease, but more dyslipidemia, hepatitis C, and current smoking than uninfected veterans. Compared to uninfected veterans, HIV-infected veterans with HIV-1 RNA ≥500 copies/mL or CD4 count <200 cells/µL had a significantly higher prevalence of elevated IL-6 (odds ratio [OR], 1.54; 95% confidence interval [CI],1.14–2.09; OR, 2.25; 95% CI, 1.60–3.16, respectively) and d-dimer (OR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.44–2.71, OR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.22–2.32, respectively) after adjusting for comorbidities. HIV-infected veterans with a CD4 cell count <200 cells/µL had significantly higher prevalence of elevated sCD14 compared to uninfected veterans (OR, 2.60; 95% CI, 1.64–4.14). These associations still persisted after restricting the analysis to veterans without known confounding comorbid conditions.
Conclusions. These data suggest that ongoing HIV replication and immune depletion significantly contribute to increased prevalence of elevated biomarkers of inflammation, altered coagulation, and monocyte activation. This contribution is independent of and in addition to the substantial contribution from comorbid conditions.
PMCID: PMC3493182  PMID: 22534147
24.  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
25.  Do Patterns of Comorbidity Vary by HIV Status, Age, and HIV Severity? 
Patterns of comorbidity among persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are not well described. We compared comorbidity among veterans with and without HIV infection. The sample consisted of 33,420 HIV-infected veterans and 66,840 HIV-uninfected veterans. We identified and clustered 11 comorbid conditions using validated International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification codes. We defined multimorbidity as the presence of conditions in all clusters. Models restricted to HIV-infected veterans were adjusted for CD4 cell count and viral load. Comorbidity was common (prevalence, 60%–63%), and prevalence varied by HIV status. Differences remained when the veterans were stratified by age. In multivariable analyses, older HIV-infected veterans were more likely to have substance use disorder and multimorbidity. Renal, vascular, and pulmonary diseases were associated with CD4 cell count <200 cells/mm3; hypertension was associated with CD4 cell count >200 cells/mm3. Comorbidity is the rule, and multimorbidity is common among veterans with HIV infection. Patterns of comorbidity differ substantially by HIV status, age, and HIV severity. Primary care guidelines require adaptation for persons with HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3687553  PMID: 18190322

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