Researchers led by Dr Nieves Montoro observed around 65 HIV positive patients, of which 63 percent were male, with an average age of 48 years and all of whom suffered from shortness of breath or dyspnea.
On conducting transthoracic echocardiogram to identify whether the patients had structural heart disease, the researchers found that around 47 percent suffered from some form of structural heart disease, mainly left ventricular hypertrophy, left ventricular dysfunction, pulmonary hypertension and signs of right ventricle failure.
"We found that half of HIV patients with dyspnea had echocardiographic evidence of structural heart disease. Our most interesting finding was that patients with a positive blood viral load had a significantly higher incidence of structural heart disease. In fact, having a detectable blood viral load nearly doubled the prevalence of heart disease, suggesting that HIV itself might be an independent causal agent", Dr Montoro said.