The Role of N-3 Fatty Acids in Preventing Coronary Artery Disease and Arrhythmias in AIDS Patients: A Hypothesis
In recent years, there has been increasing incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) within the AIDS patient population. As first noted in autopsies, the cardiac involvement in AIDS includes pericardial, myocardial, and endocardial abnormalities. Both bacterial and nonbacterial factors may be related to a variety of conditions including pericardial effusion, myocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy, endocarditis, pulmonary hypertension, malignant neoplasm, and drug-related cardiotoxicity. Of particular interest and great concern are the cardiovascular toxic effects of the various antiretroviral medications that many HIV-infected patients regularly take. The role of antiretroviral therapy in the development of atherosclerosis and arrhythmias in these patients is unclear. However, as survival continues to improve due to aggressive treatment, it becomes increasingly important to address the prevention of CAD, not only for the patient’s quality of life but also to avoid placing an additional burden on an already fragile immune system.