Arterial stiffness and endothelial dysfunction in HIV-infected children

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Background:The role of antiretroviral therapy in acceleration of atherosclerosis in HIV-infected adults is controversial, partly because of the confounding effects of the involvement of classic cardiovascular risk factors.Objective:To study vascular function in HIV-infected children.Design:Cross-sectional study of 49 HIV-infected children (34 receiving antiretroviral therapy and 15 never treated) and if 24 age- and sex-matched controls.Methods:Automatic, computerized, ultrasonic procedure evaluation of geometric and mechanical properties of the common carotid artery, and of the endothelium-dependent dilation and endothelium-independent dilation.Results:Relative systolodiastolic variations in diameter of the carotid artery in HIV-infected children were significantly lower than those in controls, but there was no significant difference in intima-media thickness. Cross-sectional compliance and distensibility were also significantly lower. Wall stiffness, assessed as the incremental elastic modulus, was larger in HIV-infected children. Endothelium-dependent dilation was lower in HIV-infected children but non-endothelium-dependent dilation was similar to that in controls. We did not find differences for any of the vascular variables between HIV-infected children receiving antiretroviral therapy and those never treated. All arterial variables were similar in children with and without dyslipidemia.Conclusions:HIV-infected children had a vascular dysfunction in the absence of cardiovascular risk factors. In this short series, no additional detrimental effects were observed after a mean of 5 years of antiretroviral therapy.

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