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Heart rate variability reduced in early HIV infection
  NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Heart rate variability appears to be impaired in the early stages of HIV infection, well before patients show any clinical signs of autonomic dysfunction, according to the results of a small study conducted in India.
At the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, Dr. Chander Mohan Mittal and colleagues performed spectral analyses of short-term electrocardiograms obtained from 21 patients with HIV infection and 18 healthy controls.
None of the patients had symptoms of AIDS or autonomic dysfunction, and none had echocardiographic evidence of left ventricular dysfunction. All of the patients were antiretroviral therapy naïve.
In the March issue of the International Journal of Cardiology, the researchers report that the "total power" and "the absolute powers of both low frequency and high frequency components" of heart rate variability were reduced in the HIV-positive subjects.
"Incipient autonomic dysfunction is present even early in the course of HIV infection," the authors conclude. "HIV patients may be more prone to development of fatal arrhythmias in the event of cardiac insult due to existing sympatho-vagal imbalance."
Int J Cardiol 2004;94:1-6.


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