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Depression and human immunodeficiency virus infection are risk factors for incident heart failure among veterans: Veterans Aging Cohort Study.



Both HIV and depression are associated with increased heart failure (HF) risk. Depression, a common comorbidity, may further increase the risk of HF among adults with HIV infection (HIV+). We assessed the association between HIV, depression, and incident HF.

Methods and results

Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) participants free from cardiovascular disease at baseline (n=81 427: 26 908 HIV+, 54 519 without HIV [HIV-]) were categorized into 4 groups: HIV- without major depressive disorder (MDD) [reference], HIV- with MDD, HIV+ without MDD, and HIV+ with MDD. International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes from medical records were used to determine MDD and the primary outcome, HF. After 5.8 years of follow-up, HF rates per 1000 person-years were highest among HIV+ participants with MDD (9.32; 95% confidence interval [CI], 8.20-10.6). In Cox proportional hazards models, HIV+ participants with MDD had a significantly higher risk of HF (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.45-1.95) compared with HIV- participants without MDD. MDD was associated with HF in separate fully adjusted models for HIV- and HIV+ participants (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.06-1.37; and adjusted hazard ratio, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.11-1.51, respectively). Among those with MDD, baseline antidepressant use was associated with lower risk of incident HF events (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.58-0.99).


Our study is the first to suggest that MDD is an independent risk factor for HF in HIV+ adults. These results reinforce the importance of identifying and managing MDD among HIV+ patients. Future studies must clarify mechanisms linking HIV, MDD, antidepressants, and HF and identify interventions to reduce HF morbidity and mortality in those with both HIV and MDD.

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