Viral load of the human immunodeficiency virus could be an independent risk factor for endothelial dysfunction

Arnon Blum, Vered Hadas, Michael Burke, Israel Yust, Ada Kessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Recent reports of myocardial infarction in young persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who are receiving protease inhibitor therapy have raised concerns about premature coronary artery disease in this population. However, endothelial dysfunction, hypercoagulability, hypertriglyceridemia, and abnormal coronary artery pathology have been observed in association with HIV infection prior to the availability of protease inhibitor therapy. Hypothesis: The study was undertaken to determine the association between endothelial function, viral load, CD4+ count, and other well-established risk factors for atherosclerosis. Methods: This prospective, case-controlled study compared viral (HIV) load and the CD4+ T-lymphocyte count and endothelial function in 24 HIV-positive carriers. Brachial artery diameter, HIV viral load, and CD4 count were measured. Results: We found that viral load correlated inversely with endothelial function; the higher the viral load, the worse the endothelial dysfunction (p < 0.005). Conclusion: High viral load appears to be associated with endothelial dysfunction in patients with HIV. This preliminary observation supports the infectious theory that viruses may play an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-153
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Viral load


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