Depression in HIV patients may up heart attack risk

New York, Aug 25 (IANS) Human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals already suffering from depression are at an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack than those without the mental health condition, finds a study.

The findings showed that HIV-infected patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) — a mood disorder causing a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest — had a 30 per cent greater risk of having an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or heart attack.

With the advent of highly effective antiretroviral therapy and improved survival, people with HIV-infection are living longer. However, they are now at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

This elevation in heart attack risk decreased by 25 per cent after further adjustment for other variables, such as hepatitis C infection, kidney disease, alcohol or cocaine abuse or dependence and haemoglobin levels, the study said.

“Our findings raise the possibility that similar to the general population, MDD may be independently associated with incident atherosclerotic CVD in the HIV-infected population,” said Matthew S. Freiberg of the Vanderbilt University School in the US.

There is an urgent need to identify novel risk factors and primary prevention approaches for CVD in HIV, the researchers concluded in the paper published online by JAMA Cardiology.

For the study, the team included 26,144 HIV-infected veterans without heart disease at baseline (1998-2003) participating in the US Department of Veterans Affairs ‘Veterans Aging Cohort Study’ from April 2003 through December 2009.



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