Background Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has evolved from a highly stigmatized disease with certain progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) to a chronic disease affecting over 1 million Americans. With the success of current anti-retroviral therapies, cardiovascular disease, including advanced heart failure (HF), will be a major cause of morbidity and mortality in this population. Methods A survey concerning heart transplantation (HT) and left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation attitudes and outcomes in HIV-infected patients was distributed to 103 American and 9 Canadian HT centers via fax, e-mail or telephone. Results Eighty-nine centers (79%) responded. Eighteen HTs were performed in HIV+ patients with 1-, 2- and 5-year survival of 100%, 100% and 63%, respectively. Eighty-two centers (92%) have never performed HT in HIV+ patients and 51 centers (57%) marked HIV+ status as a contraindication. Rationales for contraindication included: (1) high-risk patients should be avoided given the scarcity of organ supply (59%); (2) immunosuppression required for HT may induce progression to AIDS (51%); and (3) drug interactions may worsen patients' clinical outcomes (49%). Thirty-five left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantations in HIV+ patients were reported. Sixty-eight centers (76%) have never implanted an LVAD in an HIV+ patient and 21 centers (20%) marked HIV+ status as a contraindication, of which 61% indicated concern for device-related infection. Conclusions Most centers either explicitly consider HIV+ status as a contraindication for or have never treated HIV+ patients with advanced HF therapy. Our findings suggest unequal access to care and underscore the need to educate cardiovascular health-care providers on progress made with HIV therapies.
- heart transplantation
- human immunodeficiency virus
- ventricular assist device
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine