Background: Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a clinical manifestation of atherosclerosis and mainly refers to elderly patients, having a negative impact on their functionality and quality of life. The findings of previous studies in HIV-infected patients have shown that cardiovascular risk is higher and PAD occurs more frequently than in the general population. There are also contradictory observations. Much less is known about the ankle-brachial index (ABI) value in asymptomatic HIV-infected patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of PAD and ankle-brachial index abnormalities as well as to determine risk factors related to the disease in a group of Polish HIV-positive patients.
Methods and Findings: One hundred and eleven young to middle aged HIV-positive subjects and 40 noninfected subjects were enrolled into the study. Resting ABI measurements were performed and cardiovascular risk was analysed as well. Subgroups were created according to the ABI values: low (PAD), borderline, normal, high and altered ABI. Symptomatic PAD was observed in 2 HIV-positive patients, asymptomatic PAD was not diagnosed. The ABI value is lower and more varied, in 22.5% of the study group altered ABI values were found. Six subjects demonstrated borderline ABI, and 15 high ABI, including >1.4. In the control group no low or very high values were reported. A relation between low ABI and cardiovascular family history and between altered ABI and high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level was demonstrated.
Conclusions: In young and middle-aged HIV-positive patients, symptomatic PAD prevalence is comparable to that observed in the overall population. Among asymptomatic patients PAD is not reported. The ABI value in HIV-positive patients is more varied compared to the HIV-negative subjects; the altered ABI shows a strong relation with low HDL-C levels and metabolic syndrome.