New research has found that there is an increased presence and severity of coronary artery plaques in men infected with HIV. “A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) study has found that relatively young men with longstanding HIV infection and minimal cardiac risk factors had significantly more coronary atherosclerotic plaques — some involving serious arterial blockage — than did uninfected men with similar cardiovascular risk. The investigation appearing in the January 2010 issue of the journal AIDS is the first to use CT angiography to identify coronary artery plaques in HIV-infected participants. ‘We were particularly surprised to find that several of the HIV patients — none of whom had symptoms of heart disease — had obstructive coronary artery disease, which was found in none of the controls,’ says Janet Lo, MD, of the Program in Nutritional Metabolism in the MGH Department of Medicine, who led the study. ‘It appears that both traditional and nontraditional risk factors are contributing to atherosclerotic disease in HIV-infected patients.’”
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