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What cardiac problems/symptoms does HIV virus itself cause?
Aug 11, 2004

Can you please explain what complications you see from the virus itself, what symptoms to look out for and what diagnostic tests to take? I ask, because I have had repeated shortness of breath, numbness in face and sometimes fingers...my cholesterol is a bit high (240), so I wonder whether there could be some cardiac issues?

Anyway, would appreciate your explaining what cardio issues HIV virus creates,most frequent symptoms and what are the best diagnostic tests.

Many thanks.

Response from Dr. Conway

These complications are rare, and may be due to other conditions linked to HIV as much as anything else, such as endocarditis in intravenous drug users. Some oportunisitc infections (such as CMV or toxoplasmosis) may cause cardiac symptoms. Some medications (such as pentamidine and, much less often, zidovudine) can affect the heart. Elevated cholesterol from the antiretrovirals could, of course, increase the risk of heart attacks. HIV itself can affect the heart muscle. This was seen in 1-2% cases in the pre-HAART era. The link below is an excellent review of the subject:

http://www.tcd.ie/tsmj/2004/Cardiovascular%20Complications%20of%20HIV.pdf



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