Objectives: To evaluate associations of cardiac biomarkers with in-utero antiretroviral drug exposures and cardiac function/structure measured by echocardiograms in HIV-exposed but uninfected (HEU) children.
Design and methods: We analyzed the association of three cardiac biomarkers (cardiac troponin T, cTnT; high sensitivity C-reactive protein, hsCRP; and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide, NT-proBNP) with prenatal antiretroviral drug exposures, maternal-child characteristics, and echocardiographic parameters.
Results: Among 338 HEU children (mean age 4.3 years), 51% had at least one elevated cardiac biomarker. Maternal tobacco use was associated with elevated NT-proBNP [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.28, P=0.02]. Maternal alcohol and abacavir use were associated with elevated cTnT levels (aOR 3.56, P=0.01 and aOR 2.33, P=0.04, respectively). Among 94 children with paired echocardiogram-biomarker measurements, cTnT measurements were correlated with increased left-ventricular thickness-to-dimension ratio (r=0.21, P=0.04); and elevated cTnT was associated with higher mean left-ventricular end-diastolic (LVED) posterior wall thickness (P=0.04). hsCRP measurements were negatively correlated with septal thickness (r=-0.22, P=0.03) and elevated hsCRP was associated with lower mean left-ventricular contractility Z-scores (P=0.04). NT-proBNP measurements were correlated with increased LVED dimension (r=0.20, P=0.05) and elevated NT-proBNP was associated with lower mean end-systolic septal thickness (P=0.03).
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that cardiac biomarkers may help identify HEU children who require further cardiac evaluation including echocardiography. Potential cardiac effects of prenatal abacavir exposure in this population need further investigation.