Original articles

A lower body mass index is associated with cardiomyopathy in people with HIV infection: Evidence from a case comparison study

C E Lemmer, M Badri, M Visser, B M Mayosi


The cause of cardiomyopathy in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains largely unknown, although a number of predisposing factors have been identified. Malnutrition has been postulated to be a contributory factor, but the association of anthropometric measures of nutritional status with HIV-associated cardiomyopathy has not been established.
Method. We investigated the association between anthropometric measures of nutritional status and cardiomyopathy in HIV-positive individuals in a cross-sectional case comparison study.
Results. Seventeen cases of HIV-associated cardiomyopathy and a comparison group of 18 HIV-positive individuals without cardiomyopathy were studied. There was no significant difference between the two groups in age, gender, CD4 cell count, HIV RNA viral load or World Health Organization (WHO) clinical stage of HIV disease. Patients with HIV-associated cardiomyopathy had evidence of undernutrition compared with HIV-infected people without cardiomyopathy, as evidenced by a significantly lower body mass index (BMI) (20.9 kg/m2 v. 27.0 kg/m2, p=0.02), mid-upper arm circumference (26.2 cm v. 27.3 cm, p=0.02), and bone-free arm muscle area (26.7 cm2 v. 32.8 cm2, p=0.02). However, in a multivariate stepwise logistic regression model, a lower BMI was the only independent anthropometric risk factor for cardiomyopathy (odds ratio 0.76, 95% confidence interval 0.64 - 0.97, p=0.02).
Conclusion. A lower BMI is associated with cardiomyopathy in people who are living with HIV.

Authors' affiliations

C E Lemmer, University of Cape Town

M Badri, University of Cape Town

M Visser, Medical Research Council of South Africa

B M Mayosi, University of Cape Town

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Cardiomyopathy; HIV/AIDS; Nutrition

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2011;101(2):119-121.

Article History

Date submitted: 2010-06-27
Date published: 2011-01-27

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