People living with HIV (PLHIV) who have a low CD4 count or detectable viral load (VL) have an increased 30-day heart failure (HF) readmission rate as well as increased cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, compared with uninfected controls, according to Raza M. Alvi, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and his colleagues.

An illustration of a beating heart Thinkstock

Overall, the 30-day HF hospital readmission rate was higher among PLHIV versus non-HIV–infected individuals (49% vs. 32%, P less than .001), according to the results of their cohort study of 2,308 individuals admitted to the hospital with decompensated HF.

PLHIV and the non-HIV control groups were both followed over 2 years with a median follow-up period of 19 months, the authors wrote in the American Heart Journal. Demographic make-up of the two groups was similar; in particular, there was no difference in blood pressure and heart rate between the PLHIV and non-HIV controls, suggesting that adherence with HF medications may be similar between groups. The cohorts differed primarily in that pulmonary artery systolic pressure was significantly higher (45 vs. 40 mm Hg; P less than .001) in the HIV group, as was cocaine use (36% vs. 19%; P less than .001) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection (13% vs. 7%; P less than .001).

The differing results between the two cohorts were primarily caused by the fact that, for PLHIV with HF, CD4 count and VL were risk factors for adverse outcomes among patients with all types of HF. Specifically, the subset of PLHIV with HF with a CD4 count of less than 200 cells/mm3 had worse outcomes (30-day HF readmission, cardiovascular [CV] mortality, and all-cause mortality), compared with those with CD4 count greater than or equal to 200 cells/mm3. In addition, a low CD4 count/high VL independently related to an increased 30-day HF readmission rate even after the researchers controlled for major traditional and nontraditional HF risk factors.

“Rates of 30-day HF readmission, CV mortality, and all-cause mortality are worse among individuals with a low CD4 count or nonsuppressed viral load,” the researchers concluded.

The National Institutes of Health sponsored the study. The authors reported that they had no conflicts.

SOURCE: Alvi RM et al. Am Heart J. 2019 Apr;210:39-48.