HIV-associated pulmonary hypertension

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Purpose of review

HIV-associated pulmonary arterial hypertension (HIV-PAH) is a well-recognized severe cardiovascular complication of HIV infection that confers an adverse prognosis irrespective of the stage of disease. This review will summarize the available data on HIV-PAH epidemiology and provide insights into the pathophysiology and therapeutic strategies currently available.

Recent findings

Patients with HIV are several thousand times more likely to develop HIV-PAH compared to the incidence of idiopathic PAH. Several HIV viral proteins are implicated in the pathogenesis although the exact mechanism remains unknown. In the past two decades, there have been several new treatment strategies that appear effective in treating HIV-PAH. Novel pathophysiologic mechanisms implicating the transforming growth factor β receptor family may offer novel therapeutic targets in the future.


As antiretroviral therapy continues to improve health outcomes for patients with HIV, there needs to be a shift in focus of care toward chronic noncommunicable diseases. Among cardiovascular disease-complicating chronic HIV infection, HIV-PAH is a severe progressive disease that leads to right heart failure and death. Currently available treatment strategies are effective, however, furthering our understanding of HIV-PAH will be critical as it is likely to become the commonest cause of PAH worldwide.

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