Our aim was to investigate the aortic distensibility (AD) of the ascending aorta and carotid artery intima-media thickness (c-IMT) in HIV-infected patients compared to healthy controls.
One hundred and five HIV-infected patients (86 males [82%], mean age 41 ± 0.92 years), and 124 age and sex matched HIV-1 uninfected controls (104 males [84%], mean age 39.2 ± 1.03 years) were evaluated by high-resolution ultrasonography to determine AD and c-IMT. For all patients and controls clinical and laboratory factors associated with atherosclerosis were recorded.
HIV- infected patients had reduced AD compared to controls: 2.2 ± 0.01 vs. 2.62 ± 0.01 10-6 cm2 dyn-1, respectively (p < 0.001). No difference was found in c-IMT between the two groups. In multiadjusted analysis, HIV infection was independently associated with decreased distensibility (beta –0.45, p < 0.001). Analysis among HIV-infected patients showed that patients exposed to HAART had decreased AD compared to HAART-naïve patients [mean (SD): 2.18(0.02) vs. 2.28(0.03) 10-6 cm2 dyn-1, p = 0.01]. In multiadjusted analysis, increasing age and exposure to HAART were independently associated with decreased AD.
HIV infection is independently associated with decreased distensibility of the ascending aorta, a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis. Increasing age and duration of exposure to HAART are factors further contributing to decreased AD.