Assessment of atherosclerosis using carotid ultrasonography in a cohort of HIV-positive patients treated with protease inhibitors

E. Seminari, A. Pan, G. Voltini, G. Carnevale, R. Maserati, L. Minoli, G. Meneghetti, C. Tinelli, S. Testa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Lipid disorders associated with the use of protease inhibitors (PI) may be a risk factor for premature atherosclerosis development. The aim of this study is to evaluate the extent of carotid intima media thickness (IMT) among HIV-positive patients treated with PI containing regimens compared to PI-naïve and HIV-negative subjects. Methods: We analysed plasma lipid levels and carotid IMT in 28 HIV-positive patients treated with protease inhibitors (PIs) for a mean of 28.7 months (range 18-43) and in two control groups constituted, respectively, by 15 HIV-positive naïve patients and 16 HIV-negative subjects, that were matched for age, risk factors for HIV infection, cigarette smoke use and CD4+ cell count. Results: PI-treated patients had higher triglyceride, HDL and apo B levels than controls. Carotid IMT was significantly increased in PI-treated patients compared to naïve or HIV-negative subjects. A correlation between cholesterol HDL, triglyceride and ApoB levels and IMT was observed among the entire cohort. Conclusions: Plasma lipid alterations were associated with an increased IMT and intima media thickening was more pronounced in PI-treated patients than in the two control groups. Periodical evaluation of blood lipid profile and, if required, the use of lipid-lowering agents is advisable. Moreover, physicians should address concurrent risk factor for atherosclerosis that can be modified, including smoking, hypertension, obesity and sedentary life-style.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-438
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • HIV-infection
  • Intima media thickness
  • Protease inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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