Background: HIV infection is a global public health issue that is frequently associated with cardiac involvement. However, myocardial dysfunction and heart failure are often clinically occult or attributed incorrectly to other non-cardiac disease processes even a heightened awareness and knowledge for these cardiac diseases in HIV-infected patients may lead to earlier detection and a reduction in morbidity and mortality. The present study evaluates the frequency and clinical course of myocardial dysfunction and heart failure in a HIV-infected population.
Methods: The HIV-HEART (HIV-infection and HEART disease) study is a prospective, long-term cohort study. The study is designed and powered to define prevalence and natural history of chronic heart failure. Following a pilot-study of 105 HIV-infected subjects the HIV-HEART trial will contain 802 HIV-infected males and females with and without antiretroviral therapy in an urban population. HIV-HEART is performed by using non-invasive techniques for the quantification of exercise intolerance and ventricular dysfunction, including concentration of B-type natriretic peptide (BNP), transthoracal echocardiography and endurance testing. Patients with BNP >100 pg/ml achieve a magnetic resonance tomography of the heart for characterization of myocardial dysfunction and type of cardiomyopathy. To determine incidence and natural history of myocardial dysfunction and heart failure, a 2 year follow-up started in September 2006.
Conclusions: The HIV-HEART study will define the significance of myocardial dysfunction and heart failure in a HIV-infected urban population and classify appropriate methods for identifying high-risk patients, the basis for risk stratification and therapy.