Cardiovascular Disease and HIV: Pathophysiology, Treatment Considerations, and Nursing Implications

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Abstract

HIV infection has progressed from an acute, terminal disease to a chronic illness with cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death among persons living with HIV. As persons living with HIV infection continue to become older, traditional risk factors for atherosclerosis compounded by the pathophysiological effects of HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy markedly increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. Further, persons living with HIV are also at high risk for cardiomyopathy. Critical care nurses must recognize the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and the pathophysiology and complex treatment options in order to manage care of these patients and facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration. Two case studies are used to highlight the treatment options and nursing considerations associated with cardiovascular disease among persons living with HIV. (Critical Care Nurse. 2016;36[5]:37-47)

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