Prospective evaluation of hepatic steatosis in HIV-infected patients with or without hepatitis C virus co-infection

Valentina Li Vecchi, Maurizio Soresi, Lydia Giannitrapani, Paola Di Carlo, Giovanni Mazzola, Pietro Colletti, Antonino Terranova, Giovanni Vizzini, Giuseppe Montalto

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Background: Limited data are available on hepatic steatosis (HS) in HIV patients who are not infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of HS and its risk factors in HIV patients with and without HCV infection, and to evaluate whether HS correlates with advanced liver fibrosis and/or cardiovascular disease risk. Methods: Fifty-seven HIV mono-infected and 61 HIV/HCV co-infected patients were enrolled consecutively. All patients underwent liver ultrasound and transient elastography. The main parameters of liver function, HIV and HCV viral loads, CD4+ cell counts, and data on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) were recorded. Cardiovascular disease risk was evaluated using the 10-year Framingham risk score. Results: HS prevalence in the whole HIV population was 53% (54% in mono-infected patients and 51% in co-infected patients). HS was associated with lipodystrophy and triglyceride values (p<0.0001), metabolic syndrome (p<0.0004), and total cholesterol levels (p<0.001) in both HIV groups. In HIV mono-infected patients, HS was linked with HAART exposure of >1 year (p<0.01). By multivariate analysis, only triglyceride levels (p<0.02) and Framingham risk score (p<0.05) were independently associated with HS in both HIV groups. No correlation was observed between HS and advanced liver fibrosis, measured by transient elastography. Conclusions: HS was common in HIV patients, occurring in about half of the population. HS was found to be linked with the Framingham risk score, but was not correlated with advanced liver fibrosis. We suggest that in our HIV population with HS, the burden of cardiovascular disease risk is greater than that of liver disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • Antiretroviral medication
  • HIV
  • HIV/HCV co-infected
  • Lipodystrophy
  • Liver disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Steatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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