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Volume 18 Supplement 1

19th Annual SCMR Scientific Sessions

Coronary artery distensibility is impaired in HIV patients without significant coronary atherosclerosis

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HIV infection is associated with an increased likelihood of coronary artery disease (CAD) and related events, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Reduced coronary distensibility (CD) may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and is present in CAD patients1. While aortic distensibility (AD) is known to be reduced in HIV2, CD in HIV patients has not been studied. We tested the hypothesis that CD is reduced in HIV patients, even before the development of CAD, and that the reduction in CD correlates with changes in AD, reflecting diffuse changes in vascular material properties in HIV+ patients.


20 healthy adults and 13 HIV+ patients with a zero coronary artery calcium score on CT underwent 3T MRI to measure CD and AD, as previously described to evaluate the relationship between CD and AD. A subgroup of age-matched healthy subjects (N = 13, age = 46.2 ± 2.6 yrs, mean+/-SEM), were compared to the 13 HIV+ patients (from above, age 51.8 ± 1.8 yrs, p = 0.1 vs healthy) to compare CD and AD between groups. A proximal or mid segment of a major coronary artery and a cross section of the ascending aorta were imaged using cine spiral MRI for area measurements. Images were analyzed for cross-sectional area during systole and diastole using semi-automated software (Cine vs3.15.17, General Electric), and distensibility(mmHg-1) was determined: [(systolic lumen area-diastolic lumen area)]/(pulse pressure multiplied by diastolic lumen area)3.


CD was reduced in HIV+ patients, (1.66 ± 0.17 mmHg-1) as compared to that in healthy subjects (2.43 ± 0.21 mmHg-1, p = 0.008, Fig 1A). Similarly, AD was decreased in HIV+ patients, (1.49 ± 0.20 mmHg-1) as compared to that in healthy subjects (2.35 ± 0.23 mmHg-1, p = 0.01, Fig 1B). There was no significant difference in pulse pressure between the two groups. There was a significant positive relationship between AD and CD (R = 0.50, p = 0.001, Figure 1C).


Figure 1


Coronary distensibility is reduced in HIV+ patients even before the development of detectable CAD and is similar in extent to the CD reduction reported in HIV- patients with known CAD1. We confirm prior findings that AD is reduced in HIV (with 0 Calcium score) and demonstrate for the first time a significant positive relationship between AD and CD. The findings suggest that 1) vascular material properties are altered systemically in HIV+ patients even before CAD development and 2) a common mechanism of subclinical disease exists between the two vascular beds in HIV, possibly contributing to the increased risk for the development of atherosclerosis and cardiac events in HIV+ patients.

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Correspondence to Lia Petrose.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Petrose, L., Iantorno, M., Soleimanifard, S. et al. Coronary artery distensibility is impaired in HIV patients without significant coronary atherosclerosis. J Cardiovasc Magn Reson 18, O53 (2016).

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  • Coronary Artery Calcium
  • Coronary Artery Calcium Score
  • Coronary Artery Disease Patients1
  • Calcium Score
  • Significant Positive Relationship