Study: People With HIV at Increased Risk for Heart Failure


The findings showed that people with HIV were 68% more likely to develop heart failure than people who did not have HIV.

A new study has found that patients with HIV are at a higher risk of developing heart failure than people without HIV, according to a Kaiser Permanente press release.

The recent findings are a part of one of the largest studies to analyze heart failure risk in patients with HIV and how the risk varies by age, gender, race, and ethnicity, according to the study authors.

“Cardiovascular disease has been an important concern for people with HIV for many, many years,” said senior study author Michael J. Silverberg, PhD, MPH, in the press release. “Most of the research in this area has focused on the risk of stroke and heart attacks. With this study, we now see the cardiovascular impacts for people with HIV extend to end-stage conditions such as heart failure.”

Silverberg and colleagues examined data from 38,868 people with HIV who were Kaiser Permanente members between 2000 and 2016 in 1 of 3 regions: Northern California, Southern California, and the Mid-Atlantic states. The team then matched each person with up to 10 Kaiser Permanente members from the corresponding region who were the same age, gender, and race, but did not have HIV, which included 386,586 people. Last, the team identified people in both groups who had developed heart failure during follow-up.

The findings showed that people with HIV were 68% more likely to develop heart failure than people who did not have HIV. It was also found that people who were 40 years of age and younger, female, or of Asian or Pacific Islander ethnicity were at the highest risk, according to the study authors.

“In terms of young people, it’s possible that they had fewer other complicating health issues, which made heart failure stand out,” said the study first author Alan S. Go, MD, in the press release. “In women, preliminary data suggest HIV may have a greater impact on their cardiac function than it does in men, due in part to hormonal regulation and enhanced myocardial fibrosis, but that needs to be investigated further. And, overall, not a lot is known about cardiac issues and HIV among Asians and Pacific Islanders.”

According to Go, the analyses accounted for whether a person had risk factors for heart disease or was on medications to prevent heart problems.

“Our study showed that the higher risk wasn’t due to differences in access to care,” Go said in the press release. “They were all getting the highest-quality care.”

Additionally, the study showed that the higher heart failure risk was not because people with HIV had more risk factors for heart disease or just experienced more heart attacks, but that there was a higher prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease among those without HIV.

The research team said their study highlights why it is important for people with HIV and their health care providers to be aware that shortness of breath, fatigue, legs swelling, coughing, and chest pain can be symptoms.

“HIV patients often receive all of their care in busy HIV primary care clinics, and it is possible that signs and symptoms of heart failure may be missed, resulting in delays in treatment,” Silverberg said in the press release.


People with HIV are at increased risk for heart failure. Kaiser Permanente. December 13, 2021. Accessed December 14, 2021.

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