What is the connection, if any, between sudden cardiac death and people with HIV/AIDS? And can that knowledge help prolong their lives?
In a comprehensive, 10-year UCSF study, researchers found patients with HIV/AIDS suffered sudden cardiac death at a rate four times higher than the general population.
"As part of my ongoing research in 2010, we were looking at every instance of sudden death in San Francisco," said first author Zian H. Tseng, MD, an electrophysiologist and an associate professor of medicine in the UCSF Division of Cardiology. "I noticed that many of these cases involved individuals with HIV infection who were dying suddenly. I wondered if there was some sort of connection there."
He posed this question to Priscilla Hsue, MD, a UCSF associate professor of medicine and the director of the HIV Cardiology Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH), who is one of a few cardiologists in the country who specializes in HIV. To her knowledge, no one had ever explored the link between HIV and sudden death, and that is when they began collaborating on this research.
In a paper scheduled to be published May 15 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Tseng, Hsue and other researchers conducted a retrospective study of 2,860 HIV patients from April 2000 to August 2009 at SFGH's Ward 86, the first HIV/AIDS-specialized clinic, to comprehensively characterize all deaths. They studied medical records, death certificates, paramedic reports, and interviews with family members, doctors, and other clinicians.