Patients on anti-retroviral drugs have higher heart attack risk

February 14th, 2009 - 5:35 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 14 (IANS) New research has found why why some HIV patients taking anti-retroviral drugs run increased risk of heart attacks.

An international study in 2008 identified a higher than expected incidence of heart attacks among patients being treated with anti-retroviral drugs for HIV.

Building on this research, Royal College of Surgeons scientists in Ireland developed a novel assay (test) tied to HIV to measure platelet activity in blood.

Platelets are essential for blood clotting when the skin is broken but, if they are dysfunctional within the bloodstream, they can cause clots within arteries which lead to heart attacks.

Using this new test, University College-Dublin team and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH) undertook clinical trials to investigate the activity of platelets among HIV patients. These findings show a significant increase in platelet reactivity among patients taking certain anti-retroviral medications, said a MMUH release.

“These findings will significantly affect the management of patients with HIV and have important implications for the treatment of HIV worldwide,” said Paddy Mallon, consultant in infectious diseases at the MMUH (Dublin), who led the research.

The data was presented by researchers at the Retrovirus Conference in Montreal (Canada) Feb 11.

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