HIV Infection Is Associated With Variability in Ventricular Repolarization: The Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS)

Amir S. Heravi, Lacey H. Etzkorn, Jacek K. Urbanek, Ciprian M. Crainiceanu, Naresh M. Punjabi, Hiroshi Ashikaga, Todd T. Brown, Matthew J. Budoff, Gypsyamber D'Souza, Jared W. Magnani, Frank J. Palella, Ronald D. Berger, Katherine C. Wu, Wendy S. Post

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: People living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV+) have greater risk for sudden arrhythmic death than HIV-uninfected (HIV-) individuals. HIV-associated abnormal cardiac repolarization may contribute to this risk. We investigated whether HIV serostatus is associated with ventricular repolarization lability by using the QT variability index (QTVI), defined as a log measure of QT-interval variance indexed to heart rate variance. METHODS: We studied 1123 men (589 HIV+ and 534 HIV-) from MACS (Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study), using the ZioXT ambulatory electrocardiography patch. Beat-to-beat analysis of up to 4 full days of electrocardiographic data per participant was performed using an automated algorithm (median analyzed duration [quartile 1-quartile 3]: 78.3 [66.3-83.0] hours/person). QTVI was modeled using linear mixed-effects models adjusted for demographics, cardiac risk factors, and HIV-related and inflammatory biomarkers. RESULTS: Mean (SD) age was 60.1 (11.9) years among HIV- and 54.2 (11.2) years among HIV+ participants (P<0.001), 83% of whom had undetectable (<20 copies/mL) HIV-1 viral load (VL). In comparison with HIV- men, HIV+ men had higher QTVI (adjusted difference of +0.077 [95% CI, +0.032 to +0.123]). The magnitude of this association depended on the degree of viremia, such that in HIV+ men with undetectable VL, adjusted QTVI was +0.064 (95% CI, +0.017 to +0.111) higher than in HIV- men, whereas, in HIV+ men with detectable VL, adjusted QTVI was higher by +0.150 (95% CI, 0.072-0.228) than in HIV- referents. Analysis of QTVI subcomponents showed that HIV+ men had: (1) lower heart rate variability irrespective of VL status, and (2) higher QT variability if they had detectable, but not with undetectable, VL, in comparison with HIV- men. Higher levels of C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor 2, and soluble cluster of differentiation-163 (borderline), were associated with higher QTVI and partially attenuated the association with HIV serostatus. CONCLUSIONS: HIV+ men have greater beat-to-beat variability in QT interval (QTVI) than HIV- men, especially in the setting of HIV viremia and heightened inflammation. Among HIV+ men, higher QTVI suggests ventricular repolarization lability, which can increase susceptibility to arrhythmias, whereas lower heart rate variability signals a component of autonomic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-187
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 21 2020


  • AIDS
  • arrhythmias, cardiac
  • autonomic nervous system diseases
  • death, sudden, cardiac
  • electrocardiography, ambulatory
  • HIV
  • inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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