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Risk of Cardiac Attack Rises Annually

Risk of Cardiac Attack Rises Annually


Each year that a person is on antiretroviral therapy boosts the risk for a heart attack by 17%, with elevated blood lipid levels being a major factor in the increased risk, according to a study presented at the 12th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Researchers analyzed statistics from an ongoing study of HIV-positive people in the United States, Europe, and Australia and determined that the overall risk for myocardial infarction was 1.94 times higher after one to two years of therapy; 3.09 times greater after three to four years of therapy; and 4.6 times higher after six or more years of treatment. Most of the participants had other cardiac risk factors, according to the study, such as smoking, a family history of heart disease, and high baseline lipid levels. After adjusting for other risk factors, the researchers determined that anti-HIV drugs alone boost cardiac risks by 17% each year. Despite the steadily rising risk for cardiac arrest, the researchers note that the overall incidence of heart attacks associated with anti-HIV therapy remains relatively low and say that the life-extending benefits of the drugs far outweigh their risks.

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