Echocardiography detects myocardial damage in AIDS: Prospective study in 102 patients

S. Corallo, M. R. Mutinelli, M. Moroni, A. Lazzarin, V. Celano, A. Repossini, G. Baroldi

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Few data are available about cardiac involvement in AIDS. We examined 102 consecutive patients with AIDS diagnosed clinically and serologically (Walter Reed Stage 5 and 6), by means of TM and cross-sectional echocardiography with the aim of detecting cardiac abnormalities. None of the patients had overt clinical signs of heart failure. Fifty-five (54%) patients showed persistent tachycardia, diminished left ventricular (LV) wall thickness (mean 7.6 ± 0.2 mm) and decreased percentage LV fractional shortening (27 ± 5). In 42 (41%) there was a globular and poorly contracting LV. Thirty-nine (38%) patients had pericardial effusion which was moderate in 30 and small in nine. In four patients, valvular endocarditic vegetation was shown - on the tricuspid valve in three, on the aortic valve in one: all of them were drug addicts; in three (2.9%) patients a cardiac mass was found which proved to be a localization of Kaposi's sarcoma in two. Twenty-five (24.5%) patients died; necropsy showed cardiac chamber dilation, and thin LV walls in 18. On microscopic examination, myocardial fibrosis and lymphocyte infiltration with cell necrosis were observed. We conclude that cardiac abnormalities are common in AIDS. Impairment in LV contractility as assessed from fractional shortening appears to be the most common echocardiographic finding, followed by LV wall thinning, pericardial effusion and eventually by LV cavity dilation. This evolution is suggestive of myocardial damage and supports the hypothesis that dilated cardiomyopathy may be a cardiac complication of AIDS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-892
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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