Publications by authors named "Matthew S Freiberg"

122 Publications

HIV Infection and the Risk of World Health Organization-Defined Sudden Cardiac Death.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 Sep 8;10(18):e021268. Epub 2021 Sep 8.

Cardiac Electrophysiology Section, Division of Cardiology University of California San Francisco San Francisco CA.

Background People living with HIV have higher sudden cardiac death (SCD) rates compared with the general population. Whether HIV infection is an independent SCD risk factor is unclear. Methods and Results This study evaluated participants from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study, an observational, longitudinal cohort of veterans with and without HIV infection matched 1:2 on age, sex, race/ethnicity, and clinical site. Baseline for this study was a participant's first clinical visit on or after April 1, 2003. Participants were followed through December 31, 2014. Using Cox proportional hazards regression, we assessed whether HIV infection, CD4 cell counts, and/or HIV viral load were associated with World Health Organization (WHO)-defined SCD risk. Among 144 336 participants (30% people living with HIV), the mean (SD) baseline age was 50.0 years (10.6 years), 97% were men, and 47% were of Black race. During follow-up (median, 9.0 years), 3035 SCDs occurred. HIV infection was associated with increased SCD risk (hazard ratio [HR], 1.14; 95% CI, 1.04-1.25), adjusting for possible confounders. In analyses with time-varying CD4 and HIV viral load, people living with HIV with CD4 counts <200 cells/mm (HR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.28-1.92) or viral load >500 copies/mL (HR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.46-1.98) had increased SCD risk versus veterans without HIV. In contrast, people living with HIV who had CD4 cell counts >500 cells/mm (HR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.90-1.18) or HIV viral load <500 copies/mL (HR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.87-1.09) were not at increased SCD risk. Conclusions HIV infection is associated with increased risk of WHO-defined SCD among those with elevated HIV viral load or low CD4 cell counts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.121.021268DOI Listing
September 2021

Association between HIV and incident pulmonary hypertension in US Veterans: a retrospective cohort study.

Lancet Healthy Longev 2021 Jul 16;2(7):e417-e425. Epub 2021 Jun 16.

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: Pulmonary hypertension incidence based on echocardiographic estimates of pulmonary artery systolic pressure in people living with HIV remains unstudied. We aimed to determine whether people living with HIV have higher incidence and risk of pulmonary hypertension than uninfected individuals.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we evaluated data from participants in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) referred for echocardiography with baseline pulmonary artery systolic pressure measures of 35 mm Hg or less. Incident pulmonary hypertension was defined as pulmonary artery systolic pressure higher than 35 mm Hg on subsequent echocardiogram. We used Poisson regression to estimate incidence rates (IRs) of pulmonary hypertension by HIV status. We then estimated hazard ratios (HRs) by HIV status using Cox proportional hazards regression. We further categorised veterans with HIV by CD4 count or HIV viral load to assess the association between pulmonary hypertension risk and HIV severity. Models included age, sex, race or ethnicity, prevalent heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, smoking status, diabetes, body-mass index, estimated glomerular filtration rate, hepatitis C virus infection, liver cirrhosis, and drug use as covariates.

Findings: Of 21 314 VACS participants with at least one measured PASP on or after April 1, 2003, 13 028 VACS participants were included in the analytic sample (4174 [32%] with HIV and 8854 [68%] without HIV). Median age was 58 years and 12 657 (97%) were male. Median follow-up time was 3·1 years (IQR 0·9-6·8) spanning from April 1, 2003, to Sept 30, 2017. Unadjusted IRs per 1000 person-years were higher in veterans with HIV (IR 28·6 [95% CI 26·1-31·3]) than in veterans without HIV (IR 23·4 [21·9-24·9]; p=0·0004). The risk of incident pulmonary hypertension was higher among veterans with HIV than among veterans without HIV (unadjusted HR 1·25 [95% CI 1·12-1·40], p<0·0001). After multivariable adjustment, this association was slightly attenuated but remained significant (HR 1·18 [1·05-1·34], p=0·0062). Veterans with HIV who had a CD4 count lower than 200 cells per μL or of 200-499 cells per μL had a higher risk of pulmonary hypertension than did veterans without HIV (HR 1·94 [1·49-2·54], p<0·0001, for those with <200 cell μL and HR 1·29 [1·08-1·53], p=0·0048, for those with 200-499 cells per μL). Similarly, veterans with HIV who had HIV viral loads of 500 copies per mL or more had a higher risk of pulmonary hypertension than did veterans without HIV (HR 1·88 [1·46-2·42], p<0·0001).

Interpretation: HIV is associated with pulmonary hypertension incidence, adjusting for risk factors. Low CD4 cell count and high HIV viral load contribute to increased pulmonary hypertension risk among veterans with HIV. Thus, as with other cardiopulmonary diseases, suppression of HIV should be prioritised to lessen the burden of pulmonary hypertension in people living with HIV.

Funding: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (National Institutes of Health, USA); National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (National Institutes of Health, USA).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s2666-7568(21)00116-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8294078PMC
July 2021

Depression as a Risk Factor for Incident Ischemic Stroke Among HIV-Positive Veterans in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 Jul 25;10(13):e017637. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

Department of Psychology Indianapolis University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Indianapolis IN.

Background HIV infection and depression are each associated with increased ischemic stroke risk. Whether depression is a risk factor for stroke within the HIV population is unknown. Methods and Results We analyzed data on 106 333 (33 528 HIV-positive; 72 805 HIV-negative) people who were free of baseline cardiovascular disease from an observational cohort of HIV-positive people and matched uninfected veterans in care from April 1, 2003 through December 31, 2014. () codes from medical records were used to determine baseline depression and incident stroke. Depression occurred in 19.5% of HIV-positive people. After a median of 9.2 years of follow-up, stroke rates were highest among people with both HIV and depression and lowest among those with neither condition. In Cox proportional hazard models, depression was associated with an increased risk of stroke for HIV-positive people after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and cerebrovascular risk factors (hazard ratio [HR], 1.18; 95% CI: 1.03-1.34; 0.014). The depression-stroke relationship was attenuated by alcohol use disorders, cocaine use, and baseline antidepressant use, and unaffected by combined antiretroviral therapy use or individual antiretroviral agents. A numerically higher HR of depression on stroke was found among those younger than 60 years. Conclusions Depression is associated with an increased risk of stroke among HIV-positive people after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, traditional cerebrovascular risk factors, and HIV-specific factors. Alcohol use disorders, cocaine use, and baseline antidepressant use accounted for some of the observed stroke risk. Depression may be a novel, independent risk factor for ischemic stroke in HIV, particularly among younger people.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.119.017637DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8403311PMC
July 2021

Pharmacoepidemiology, Machine Learning and COVID-19: An intent-to-treat analysis of hydroxychloroquine, with or without azithromycin, and COVID-19 outcomes amongst hospitalized US Veterans.

Am J Epidemiol 2021 Jun 24. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology, Research and Information Center, VA Boston Healthcare System, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was proposed as an early therapy for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) after in vitro studies indicated possible benefit. Previous in vivo observational studies have presented conflicting results, though recent randomized clinical trials have reported no benefit from HCQ amongst hospitalized COVID-19 patients. We examined the effects of HCQ alone, and in combination with azithromycin, in a hospitalized COVID-19 positive, United States (US) Veteran population using a propensity score adjusted survival analysis with imputation of missing data. From March 1, 2020 through April 30, 2020, 64,055 US Veterans were tested for COVID-19 based on Veteran Affairs Healthcare Administration electronic health record data. Of the 7,193 positive cases, 2,809 were hospitalized, and 657 individuals were prescribed HCQ within the first 48-hours of hospitalization for the treatment of COVID-19. There was no apparent benefit associated with HCQ receipt, alone or in combination with azithromycin, and an increased risk of intubation when used in combination with azithromycin [Hazard Ratio (95% Confidence Interval): 1.55 (1.07, 2.24)]. In conclusion, we assessed the effectiveness of HCQ with or without azithromycin in treating patients hospitalized with COVID-19 using a national sample of the US Veteran population. Using rigorous study design and analytic methods to reduce confounding and bias, we found no evidence of a survival benefit from the administration of HCQ.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwab183DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8384407PMC
June 2021

Association of Syndemic Unhealthy Alcohol Use, Smoking, and Depressive Symptoms on Incident Cardiovascular Disease among Veterans With and Without HIV-Infection.

AIDS Behav 2021 Sep 8;25(9):2852-2862. Epub 2021 Jun 8.

Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2525 West End Avenue, Office 315, Nashville, TN, 37203, USA.

Unhealthy alcohol use, smoking, and depressive symptoms are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Little is known about their co-occurrence - termed a syndemic, defined as the synergistic effect of two or more conditions-on CVD risk in people with HIV (PWH). We used data from 5621 CVD-free participants (51% PWH) in the Veteran's Aging Cohort Study-8, a prospective, observational study of veterans followed from 2002 to 2014 to assess the association between this syndemic and incident CVD by HIV status. Diagnostic codes identified cases of CVD (acute myocardial infarction, stroke, heart failure, peripheral artery disease, and coronary revascularization). Validated measures of alcohol use, smoking, and depressive symptoms were used. Baseline number of syndemic conditions was categorized (0, 1, ≥ 2 conditions). Multivariable Cox Proportional Hazards regressions estimated risk of the syndemic (≥ 2 conditions) on incident CVD by HIV-status. There were 1149 cases of incident CVD (52% PWH) during the follow-up (median 10.1 years). Of the total sample, 64% met our syndemic definition. The syndemic was associated with greater risk for incident CVD among PWH (Hazard Ratio [HR] 1.87 [1.47-2.38], p < 0.001) and HIV-negative veterans (HR 1.70 [1.35-2.13], p < 0.001), compared to HIV-negative with zero conditions. Among those with the syndemic, CVD risk was not statistically significantly higher among PWH vs. HIV-negative (HR 1.10 [0.89, 1.37], p = .38). Given the high prevalence of this syndemic combined with excess risk of CVD, these findings support linked-screening and treatment efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10461-021-03327-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8376776PMC
September 2021

Lack of Association Between Recent Cannabis Use and Advanced Liver Fibrosis Among HIV-positive Heavy Drinkers.

Curr HIV Res 2021 ;19(4):324-331

Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston MA, United States.

Aim: This study aimed to analyze the association between any past-month cannabis use and advanced liver fibrosis.

Background: Cannabinoid receptors play a role in acute and chronic liver injury, but human studies addressing the impact of cannabis use on liver fibrosis have shown mixed results.

Objective: The objective of this study was to explore and estimate the association between pastmonth cannabis use and advanced liver fibrosis (ALF) in a cohort of Russian HIV-positive individuals with heavy alcohol use and a high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection.

Methods: Baseline data were analyzed from participants of the ZINC study, a trial that enrolled HIV-positive Russian patients without prior antiretroviral therapy. Cannabis use during the prior month was assessed at study entry. ALF was defined as FIB-4>3.25 and APRI>1.5. Transient elastography was used to detect advanced liver fibrosis among participants with FIB-4 values in the intermediate range (between 1.45 and 3.25).

Results: Participants (n=248) were mostly male (72.6%), young (median age of 33.9 years), infected with HCV (87.9%), and did not have advanced immunosuppression (median CD4 count 465). Cannabis use was uncommon (12.4%), and the prevalence of advanced liver disease was 21.7%. The prevalence of ALF was similar among those who used cannabis compared to those who did not (25.8% vs. 21.7%). We were unable to detect an association between cannabis use and ALF (adjusted odds ratio: 1.28, 95% confidence interval: 0.53-3.12, p=0.59) in logistic regression models adjusting for age, sex, heavy drinking, BMI, and CD4 cell count.

Conclusion: In this exploratory study among HIV-positive heavy drinking Russians, we did not detect an association between recent cannabis use and ALF. Larger scale studies, including more participants with cannabis use, are needed to examine this relationship further.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1570162X19666210519151320DOI Listing
January 2021

Design of a randomized controlled trial of smoking cessation medications for alcohol reduction among HIV-positive heavy drinkers and daily smokers in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Contemp Clin Trials Commun 2020 Sep 16;19:100625. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

Department of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center, Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit, 801 Massachusetts Avenue, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA, 02118, United States.

Background: HIV, heavy drinking, and smoking are all pro-inflammatory and increase risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). Interventions that reduce alcohol use, smoking, or both in HIV-positive people could lower inflammation, CHD and death risk. Varenicline and cytisine are proven therapies for smoking cessation and may also reduce alcohol consumption. The comparative efficacy of varenicline and cytisine to reduce alcohol consumption has not been tested, nor has their comparative effectiveness been reported for smoking.

Objective: This paper describes the protocol of the Studying Partial agonists for Ethanol and Tobacco Elimination in Russians with HIV (St PETER HIV), a four-arm parallel-group randomized controlled trial comparing effects of varenicline, cytisine, and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

Methods: The study is recruiting four hundred HIV-positive heavy drinking smokers interested in cutting down on alcohol and/or tobacco in St. Petersburg, Russia. Participants are randomly assigned to receive either active varenicline + NRT placebo, varenicline placebo + active NRT, active cytisine + NRT placebo, cytisine placebo + active NRT. All participants receive evidence-based counseling for alcohol and tobacco use, one active medication, and one placebo. Outcomes are: 1) % heavy drinking days in the past month (primary study outcome at three months) and alcohol craving; 2) cigarettes per day (primary smoking outcome at 3 months) and 7-day point prevalence abstinence and; 3) inflammation, CHD risk, and mortality risk.

Conclusion: St PETER HIV addresses the paucity of randomized controlled trial data to guide treatment of alcohol consumption and smoking in HIV-positive heavy drinking smokers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.conctc.2020.100625DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7889999PMC
September 2020

Early initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation for prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 mortality in patients admitted to hospital in the United States: cohort study.

BMJ 2021 02 11;372:n311. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Objective: To evaluate whether early initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation compared with no anticoagulation was associated with decreased risk of death among patients admitted to hospital with coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) in the United States.

Design: Observational cohort study.

Setting: Nationwide cohort of patients receiving care in the Department of Veterans Affairs, a large integrated national healthcare system.

Participants: All 4297 patients admitted to hospital from 1 March to 31 July 2020 with laboratory confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and without a history of anticoagulation.

Main Outcome Measures: The main outcome was 30 day mortality. Secondary outcomes were inpatient mortality, initiating therapeutic anticoagulation (a proxy for clinical deterioration, including thromboembolic events), and bleeding that required transfusion.

Results: Of 4297 patients admitted to hospital with covid-19, 3627 (84.4%) received prophylactic anticoagulation within 24 hours of admission. More than 99% (n=3600) of treated patients received subcutaneous heparin or enoxaparin. 622 deaths occurred within 30 days of hospital admission, 513 among those who received prophylactic anticoagulation. Most deaths (510/622, 82%) occurred during hospital stay. Using inverse probability of treatment weighted analyses, the cumulative incidence of mortality at 30 days was 14.3% (95% confidence interval 13.1% to 15.5%) among those who received prophylactic anticoagulation and 18.7% (15.1% to 22.9%) among those who did not. Compared with patients who did not receive prophylactic anticoagulation, those who did had a 27% decreased risk for 30 day mortality (hazard ratio 0.73, 95% confidence interval 0.66 to 0.81). Similar associations were found for inpatient mortality and initiation of therapeutic anticoagulation. Receipt of prophylactic anticoagulation was not associated with increased risk of bleeding that required transfusion (hazard ratio 0.87, 0.71 to 1.05). Quantitative bias analysis showed that results were robust to unmeasured confounding (e-value lower 95% confidence interval 1.77 for 30 day mortality). Results persisted in several sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions: Early initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation compared with no anticoagulation among patients admitted to hospital with covid-19 was associated with a decreased risk of 30 day mortality and no increased risk of serious bleeding events. These findings provide strong real world evidence to support guidelines recommending the use of prophylactic anticoagulation as initial treatment for patients with covid-19 on hospital admission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n311DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7876672PMC
February 2021

Insomnia symptoms and biomarkers of monocyte activation, systemic inflammation, and coagulation in HIV: Veterans Aging Cohort Study.

PLoS One 2021 9;16(2):e0246073. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Department of Psychology, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America.

Background: Insomnia may be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in HIV (HIV-CVD); however, mechanisms have yet to be elucidated.

Methods: We examined cross-sectional associations of insomnia symptoms with biological mechanisms of HIV-CVD (immune activation, systemic inflammation, and coagulation) among 1,542 people with HIV from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) Biomarker Cohort. Past-month insomnia symptoms were assessed by the item, "Difficulty falling or staying asleep?," with the following response options: "I do not have this symptom" or "I have this symptom and…" "it doesn't bother me," "it bothers me a little," "it bothers me," "it bothers me a lot." Circulating levels of the monocyte activation marker soluble CD14 (sCD14), inflammatory marker interleukin-6 (IL-6), and coagulation marker D-dimer were determined from blood specimens. Demographic- and fully-adjusted (CVD risk factors, potential confounders, HIV-related factors) regression models were constructed, with log-transformed biomarker variables as the outcomes. We present the exponentiated regression coefficient (exp[b]) and its 95% confidence interval (CI).

Results: We observed no significant associations between insomnia symptoms and sCD14 or IL-6. For D-dimer, veterans in the "Bothers a Lot" group had, on average, 17% higher D-dimer than veterans in the "No Difficulty Falling or Staying Asleep" group in the demographic-adjusted model (exp[b] = 1.17, 95%CI = 1.01-1.37, p = .04). This association was nonsignificant in the fully-adjusted model (exp[b] = 1.09, 95%CI = 0.94-1.26, p = .27).

Conclusion: We observed little evidence of relationships between insomnia symptoms and markers of biological mechanisms of HIV-CVD. Other mechanisms may be responsible for the insomnia-CVD relationship in HIV; however, future studies with comprehensive assessments of insomnia symptoms are warranted.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0246073PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7872271PMC
July 2021

Genetics of Smoking and Risk of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Diseases: A Mendelian Randomization Study.

JAMA Netw Open 2021 01 4;4(1):e2034461. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Importance: Smoking is associated with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, but the relative contribution to each subtype (coronary artery disease [CAD], peripheral artery disease [PAD], and large-artery stroke) remains less well understood.

Objective: To determine the association between genetic liability to smoking and risk of CAD, PAD, and large-artery stroke.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Mendelian randomization study using summary statistics from genome-wide associations of smoking (UK Biobank; up to 462 690 individuals), CAD (Coronary Artery Disease Genome Wide Replication and Meta-analysis plus the Coronary Artery Disease Genetics Consortium; up to 60 801 cases, 123 504 controls), PAD (VA Million Veteran Program; up to 24 009 cases, 150 983 controls), and large-artery stroke (MEGASTROKE; up to 4373 cases, 406 111 controls). This study was conducted using summary statistic data from large, previously described cohorts. Review of those publications does not reveal the total recruitment dates for those cohorts. Data analyses were conducted from August 2019 to June 2020.

Exposures: Genetic liability to smoking (as proxied by genetic variants associated with lifetime smoking index).

Main Outcomes And Measures: Risk (odds ratios [ORs]) of CAD, PAD, and large-artery stroke.

Results: Genetic liability to smoking was associated with increased risk of PAD (OR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.78-2.56; P = 3.6 × 10-16), CAD (OR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.25-1.75; P = 4.4 × 10-6), and stroke (OR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.02-1.92; P = .04). Genetic liability to smoking was associated with greater risk of PAD than risk of large-artery stroke (ratio of ORs, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.05-2.19; P = .02) or CAD (ratio of ORs, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.12-1.84; P = .004). The association between genetic liability to smoking and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases remained independent from the effects of smoking on traditional cardiovascular risk factors.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this mendelian randomization analysis of data from large studies of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases, genetic liability to smoking was a strong risk factor for CAD, PAD, and stroke, although the estimated association was strongest between smoking and PAD. The association between smoking and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease was independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.34461DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7816104PMC
January 2021

Early initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation for prevention of COVID-19 mortality: a nationwide cohort study of hospitalized patients in the United States.

medRxiv 2020 Dec 11. Epub 2020 Dec 11.

Importance: Deaths among patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are partially attributed to venous thromboembolism and arterial thromboses. Anticoagulants prevent thrombosis formation, possess anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, and may be particularly effective for treating patients with COVID-19.

Objective: To evaluate whether initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation within 24 hours of admission is associated with decreased risk of death among patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Design: Observational cohort study.

Setting: Nationwide cohort of patients receiving care in the Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States.

Participants: All patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection March 1 to July 31, 2020, without a history of therapeutic anticoagulation.

Exposures: Prophylactic doses of subcutaneous heparin, low-molecular-weight heparin, or direct oral anticoagulants.

Main Outcomes And Measures: 30-day mortality. Secondary outcomes: inpatient mortality and initiating therapeutic anticoagulation.

Results: Of 4,297 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 3,627 (84.4%) received prophylactic anticoagulation within 24 hours of admission. More than 99% (n=3,600) received subcutaneous heparin or enoxaparin. We observed 622 deaths within 30 days of admission, 513 among those who received prophylactic anticoagulation. Most deaths (510/622, 82%) occurred during hospitalization. In inverse probability of treatment weighted analyses, cumulative adjusted incidence of mortality at 30 days was 14.3% (95% CI 13.1-15.5) among those receiving prophylactic anticoagulation and 18.7% (95% CI 15.1-22.9) among those who did not. Compared to patients who did not receive prophylactic anticoagulation, those who did had a 27% decreased risk for 30-day mortality (HR 0.73, 95% CI 0.66-0.81). Similar associations were found for inpatient mortality and initiating therapeutic anticoagulation. Quantitative bias analysis demonstrated that results were robust to unmeasured confounding (e-value lower 95% CI 1.77). Results persisted in a number of sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions And Relevance: Early initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation among patients hospitalized with COVID-19 was associated with a decreased risk of mortality. These findings provide strong real-world evidence to support guidelines recommending the use of prophylactic anticoagulation as initial therapy for COVID-19 patients upon hospital admission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.12.09.20246579DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7743107PMC
December 2020

Community-Acquired Pneumonia and Risk of Cardiovascular Events in People Living With HIV.

J Am Heart Assoc 2020 12 23;9(23):e017645. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Medicine Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine University of Washington Seattle WA.

Background Hospitalization with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events in patients uninfected with HIV. We evaluated whether people living with HIV (PLWH) have a higher risk of CVD or mortality than individuals uninfected with HIV following hospitalization with CAP. Methods and Results We analyzed data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study on US veterans admitted with their first episode of CAP from April 2003 through December 2014. We used Cox regression analyses to determine whether HIV status was associated with incident CVD events and mortality from date of admission through 30 days after discharge (30-day mortality), adjusting for known CVD risk factors. We included 4384 patients (67% [n=2951] PLWH). PLWH admitted with CAP were younger, had less severe CAP, and had fewer CVD risk factors than patients with CAP who were uninfected with HIV. In multivariable-adjusted analyses, CVD risk was similar in PLWH compared with HIV-uninfected (hazard ratio [HR], 0.89; 95% CI, 0.70-1.12), but HIV infection was associated with higher mortality risk (HR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.16-1.90). In models stratified by HIV status, CAP severity was significantly associated with incident CVD and 30-day mortality in PLWH and patients uninfected with HIV. Conclusions In this study, the risk of CVD events during or after hospitalization for CAP was similar in PLWH and patients uninfected with HIV, after adjusting for known CVD risk factors and CAP severity. HIV infection, however, was associated with increased 30-day mortality after CAP hospitalization in multivariable-adjusted models. PLWH should be included in future studies evaluating mechanisms and prevention of CVD events after CAP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.017645DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7763776PMC
December 2020

HIV- and HCV-specific markers and echocardiographic pulmonary artery systolic pressure among United States veterans.

Sci Rep 2020 10 30;10(1):18729. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2525 West End Avenue, Suite 300A, Nashville, TN, 37203, USA.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) may increase pulmonary hypertension (PH) risk among people living with HIV (PLWH). Prior studies on this topic have been relatively small and examined selected populations. We determine whether HIV/HCV coinfection is associated with higher pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) and prevalent echocardiographic PH. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of 6032 (16% HIV/HCV coinfected) Veterans Aging Cohort Study participants enrolled 4/1/2003-9/30/2012 with echocardiographic PASP measures. We performed multiple linear and logistic regression analyses to determine whether HIV/HCV mono- or co-infection were associated with PASP and PH compared to uninfected individuals. Individuals with HIV/HCV coinfection displayed a higher PASP than uninfected individuals ([Formula: see text]=1.10, 95% CI 0.01, 2.20) but there was no association between HIV/HCV coinfection and prevalent PH. Subset analyses examined HIV and HCV disease severity markers separately and jointly. Among PLWH, HCV coinfection ([Formula: see text]=1.47, 95% CI 0.26, 2.67) and CD4 + cell count ([Formula: see text]= - 0.68, 95% CI - 1.10, - 0.27), but not HIV viral load nor ART regimen, were associated with PASP. Among people with HCV, neither HIV coinfection nor HCV biomarkers were associated with PASP. Among US veterans referred for echocardiography, HIV/HCV coinfection was not associated with a clinically significant elevation in pulmonary pressure. Lower absolute CD4 + T-cell count was inversely associated with PASP which warrants further investigation in prospective studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-75290-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7599329PMC
October 2020

Patterns of COVID-19 testing and mortality by race and ethnicity among United States veterans: A nationwide cohort study.

PLoS Med 2020 09 22;17(9):e1003379. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

VA Connecticut Healthcare System, US Department of Veterans Affairs, West Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.

Background: There is growing concern that racial and ethnic minority communities around the world are experiencing a disproportionate burden of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We investigated racial and ethnic disparities in patterns of COVID-19 testing (i.e., who received testing and who tested positive) and subsequent mortality in the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States.

Methods And Findings: This retrospective cohort study included 5,834,543 individuals receiving care in the US Department of Veterans Affairs; most (91%) were men, 74% were non-Hispanic White (White), 19% were non-Hispanic Black (Black), and 7% were Hispanic. We evaluated associations between race/ethnicity and receipt of COVID-19 testing, a positive test result, and 30-day mortality, with multivariable adjustment for a wide range of demographic and clinical characteristics including comorbid conditions, health behaviors, medication history, site of care, and urban versus rural residence. Between February 8 and July 22, 2020, 254,595 individuals were tested for COVID-19, of whom 16,317 tested positive and 1,057 died. Black individuals were more likely to be tested (rate per 1,000 individuals: 60.0, 95% CI 59.6-60.5) than Hispanic (52.7, 95% CI 52.1-53.4) and White individuals (38.6, 95% CI 38.4-38.7). While individuals from minority backgrounds were more likely to test positive (Black versus White: odds ratio [OR] 1.93, 95% CI 1.85-2.01, p < 0.001; Hispanic versus White: OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.74-1.94, p < 0.001), 30-day mortality did not differ by race/ethnicity (Black versus White: OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.80-1.17, p = 0.74; Hispanic versus White: OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.73-1.34, p = 0.94). The disparity between Black and White individuals in testing positive for COVID-19 was stronger in the Midwest (OR 2.66, 95% CI 2.41-2.95, p < 0.001) than the West (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.11-1.39, p < 0.001). The disparity in testing positive for COVID-19 between Hispanic and White individuals was consistent across region, calendar time, and outbreak pattern. Study limitations include underrepresentation of women and a lack of detailed information on social determinants of health.

Conclusions: In this nationwide study, we found that Black and Hispanic individuals are experiencing an excess burden of SARS-CoV-2 infection not entirely explained by underlying medical conditions or where they live or receive care. There is an urgent need to proactively tailor strategies to contain and prevent further outbreaks in racial and ethnic minority communities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003379DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7508372PMC
September 2020

Mendelian Randomization Analysis of Hemostatic Factors and Their Contribution to Peripheral Artery Disease-Brief Report.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2021 01 27;41(1):380-386. Epub 2020 Aug 27.

Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, PA (A.M.S., K.-M.C., S.M.D.).

Background And Objective: Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is the third most common form of atherosclerotic vascular disease and is characterized by significant functional disability and increased cardiovascular mortality. Recent genetic data support a role for a procoagulation protein variant, the factor V Leiden mutation, in PAD. The role of other hemostatic factors in PAD remains unknown. We evaluated the role of hemostatic factors in PAD using Mendelian randomization. Approach and Results: Two-sample Mendelian randomization to evaluate the roles of FVII (factor VII), FVIII (factor VIII), FXI (factor XI), VWF (von Willebrand factor), and fibrinogen in PAD was performed using summary statistics from GWAS for hemostatic factors performed within the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in the Genome Epidemiology Consortium and from GWAS performed for PAD within the Million Veteran Program. Genetically determined FVIII and VWF, but not FVII, FXI, or fibrinogen, were associated with PAD in Mendelian randomization experiments (FVIII: odds ratio, 1.41 [95% CI, 1.23-1.62], =6.0×10, VWF: odds ratio, 1.28 [95% CI, 1.07-1.52], =0.0073). In single variant sensitivity analysis, the locus was the strongest genetic instrument for both FVIII and VWF.

Conclusions: Our results suggest a role for hemostasis, and by extension, thrombosis in PAD. Further study is warranted to determine whether VWF and FVIII independently affect the biology of PAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.119.313847DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7785109PMC
January 2021

Effects of Internet Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy on Depressive Symptoms and Surrogates of Cardiovascular Risk in Human Immunodeficiency Virus: A Pilot, Randomized, Controlled Trial.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2020 Jul 5;7(7):ofaa280. Epub 2020 Jul 5.

Department of Psychology, Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

Background: Depression is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We hypothesized that reducing depressive symptoms would improve HIV-related cardiovascular risk.

Methods: We conducted a single-center, randomized (1:1), controlled, parallel-group, assessor-blinded, pilot trial comparing Beating the Blues US (BtB)-an evidence-based, 8-session, internet cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression-with usual care (UC) in HIV-positive participants receiving virologically suppressive antiretroviral therapy and with Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9 scores ≥10. The primary endpoint was change in brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) at 12 weeks. Secondary endpoints were FMD change at 24 weeks and inflammation, coagulation, and metabolic biomarker changes at 12 and 24 weeks.

Results: Fifty-four participants were randomized (27 in each arm). Mean reductions in PHQ-9 scores were significantly greater with BtB versus UC at 12 weeks (-5.60 vs -1.52;  = .007) and 24 weeks (-6.00 vs -1.38;  = .008); reductions in the Hopkins Symptom Checklist Depression Scale-20 scores were also significantly greater with BtB versus UC at 24 weeks (-0.72 vs -0.35;  = .029). Changes in FMD between arms were not significantly different at 12 or 24 weeks. Significantly larger reductions in soluble (s)CD14 and sCD163 with BtB versus UC were found at 12 and 24 weeks, respectively.

Conclusions: Compared with UC, internet cognitive-behavioral therapy using BtB resulted in greater improvements in depressive symptoms and monocyte activation markers but did not improve FMD in this pilot trial. These data support performing larger studies to determine the potential salutatory effects of behavioral therapies for depression on HIV-related inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofaa280DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7393797PMC
July 2020

Covid-19 Testing, Hospital Admission, and Intensive Care Among 2,026,227 United States Veterans Aged 54-75 Years.

medRxiv 2020 Apr 14. Epub 2020 Apr 14.

Importance: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), an evolving pandemic. Limited data are available characterizing SARS-Cov-2 infection in the United States.

Objective: To determine associations between demographic and clinical factors and testing positive for coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19+), and among Covid-19+ subsequent hospitalization and intensive care.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Retrospective cohort study including all patients tested for Covid-19 between February 8 and March 30, 2020, inclusive. We extracted electronic health record data from the national Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States, on 2,026,227 patients born between 1945 and 1965 and active in care. Exposures: Demographic data, comorbidities, medication history, substance use, vital signs, and laboratory measures. Laboratory tests were analyzed first individually and then grouped into a validated summary measure of physiologic injury (VACS Index). Main Outcomes and Measures: We evaluated which factors were associated with Covid-19+ among all who tested. Among Covid-19+ we identified factors associated with hospitalization or intensive care. We identified independent associations using multivariable and conditional multivariable logistic regression with multiple imputation of missing values.

Results: Among Veterans aged 54-75 years, 585/3,789 (15.4%) tested Covid-19+. In adjusted analysis (C-statistic=0.806) black race was associated with Covid-19+ (OR 4.68, 95% CI 3.79-5.78) and the association remained in analyses conditional on site (OR 2.56, 95% CI 1.89-3.46). In adjusted models, laboratory abnormalities (especially fibrosis-4 score [FIB-4] >3.25 OR 8.73, 95% CI 4.11-18.56), and VACS Index (per 5-point increase OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.43-1.84) were strongly associated with hospitalization. Associations were similar for intensive care. Although significant in unadjusted analyses, associations with comorbid conditions and medications were substantially reduced and, in most cases, no longer significant after adjustment.

Conclusions And Relevance: Black race was strongly associated with Covid-19+, but not with hospitalization or intensive care. Among Covid-19+, risk of hospitalization and intensive care may be better characterized by laboratory measures and vital signs than by comorbid conditions or prior medication exposure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.09.20059964DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7276022PMC
April 2020

Covid-19 by Race and Ethnicity: A National Cohort Study of 6 Million United States Veterans.

medRxiv 2020 May 18. Epub 2020 May 18.

VA Connecticut Healthcare System, US Department of Veterans Affairs, West Haven, CT, US, 06516.

Background: There is growing concern that racial and ethnic minority communities around the world are experiencing a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality from symptomatic SARS-Cov-2 infection or coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). Most studies investigating racial and ethnic disparities to date have focused on hospitalized patients or have not characterized who received testing or those who tested positive for Covid-19.

Objective: To compare patterns of testing and test results for coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) and subsequent mortality by race and ethnicity in the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Participants: 5,834,543 individuals in care, among whom 62,098 were tested and 5,630 tested positive for Covid-19 between February 8 and May 4, 2020. Exposures: Self-reported race/ethnicity.

Main Outcome Measures: We evaluated associations between race/ethnicity and receipt of Covid-19 testing, a positive test result, and 30-day mortality, accounting for a wide range of demographic and clinical risk factors including comorbid conditions, site of care, and urban versus rural residence.

Results: Among all individuals in care, 74% were non-Hispanic white (white), 19% non-Hispanic black (black), and 7% Hispanic. Compared with white individuals, black and Hispanic individuals were more likely to be tested for Covid-19 (tests per 1000: white=9.0, [95% CI 8.9 to 9.1]; black=16.4, [16.2 to 16.7]; and Hispanic=12.2, [11.9 to 12.5]). While individuals from minority backgrounds were more likely to test positive (black vs white: OR 1.96, 95% CI 1.81 to 2.12; Hispanic vs white: OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.53 to 1.96), 30-day mortality did not differ by race/ethnicity (black vs white: OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.64 to 1.33; Hispanic vs white: OR 1.07, 95% CI 0.61 to 1.87).

Conclusions: Black and Hispanic individuals are experiencing an excess burden of Covid-19 not entirely explained by underlying medical conditions or where they live or receive care. While there was no observed difference in mortality by race or ethnicity, our findings may underestimate risk in the broader US population as health disparities tend to be reduced in VA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.12.20099135DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7273292PMC
May 2020

Beyond Smoking Cessation: Investigating Medicinal Nicotine to Prevent and Treat COVID-19.

Nicotine Tob Res 2020 08;22(9):1669-1670

Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntaa077DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7239141PMC
August 2020

Effect of Zinc Supplementation vs Placebo on Mortality Risk and HIV Disease Progression Among HIV-Positive Adults With Heavy Alcohol Use: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 05 1;3(5):e204330. Epub 2020 May 1.

Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Importance: Zinc supplementation can reduce alcohol-related microbial translocation and inflammation.

Objective: To assess whether zinc supplementation reduces markers of mortality and risk of cardiovascular disease, reduces levels of inflammation and microbial translocation, and slows HIV disease progression in people with heavy alcohol use who are living with HIV/AIDS.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This study is a double-blinded placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial of zinc supplementation among participants recruited from 2013 to 2015. Participants were recruited from HIV and addiction clinical and nonclinical care sites in St Petersburg, Russia. Participants were adults (aged 18-70 years) with documented HIV infection who were antiretroviral therapy-naive at baseline and had past 30-day heavy alcohol consumption. Data analysis was performed from February 2017 to February 2020.

Intervention: Pharmacy-grade zinc gluconate supplementation (15 mg for men and 12 mg for women, taken daily by mouth for 18 months) was compared with a placebo.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary outcome was mortality risk measured as a change in Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) Index score between baseline and 18 months. The VACS Index scores range from 0 to 164, with higher scores indicating higher mortality risk. Secondary outcomes were change in CD4 cell count between baseline and 18 months, the assessment of cardiovascular disease risk (Reynolds Risk Score, which ranges from 0% to 100%, with higher scores indicating higher risk), and changes in inflammatory or microbial translocation biomarkers at 18 months. Adjusted linear regression analyses were performed.

Results: A total of 254 participants (184 men [72%]; mean [SD] age, 34 [6] years) were enrolled in the trial; 126 were randomized to receive zinc, and 128 were randomized to receive placebo. Participants had high CD4 cell counts (mean [SD], 521 [292] cells/mm3), and 188 (74%) reported heavy drinking in the past week. In the main analyses, zinc supplementation did not affect changes in the VACS Index score at 18 months (change for zinc, mean [SD], 0.49 [14.6]; median [interquartile range], 0.0 [-7.0 to 6.0]; change for placebo, mean [SD], 5.5 [17.2]; median [interquartile range], 6.0 [-6.0 to 14.0]; adjusted mean difference [AMD], -4.68; 95% CI, -9.62 to 0.25; P = .06) or any secondary outcomes, including change in CD4 cell count (AMD, 41.8 cells/mm3; 95% CI, -20.3 to 103.8 cells/mm3; P = .19), Reynolds Risk Score (AMD, -0.014; 95% CI, -0.167 to 0.139; P = .85), interleukin-6 level (AMD, -0.13 pg/mL; 95% CI, -0.38 to 0.11 pg/mL; P = .30), dimerized plasmin fragment D level (AMD, -0.21 μg/mL fibrinogen equivalent units; 95% CI, -0.48 to 0.07 μg/mL fibrinogen equivalent units; P = .14), soluble CD14 level (AMD, -38.01 ng/mL; 95% CI, -166.90 to 90.88 ng/mL; P = .56), intestinal fatty acid binding protein level (AMD, 0.08 pg/mL; 95% CI, -0.07 to 0.22 pg/mL; P = .32), and lipopolysaccharide binding protein level (AMD, -0.09 ng/mL; 95% CI, -0.23 to 0.06 ng/mL; P = .24). In the per-protocol analyses, zinc supplementation statistically significantly affected changes in the VACS Index score at 18 months (AMD, -7.49; 95% CI, -13.74 to -1.23; P = .02); however, the adherence rate to zinc supplementation was 51%.

Conclusions And Relevance: Zinc supplementation did not reduce mortality risk, CD4 cell counts, cardiovascular disease risk, and levels of inflammation or microbial translocation in people with heavy alcohol use who are living with HIV/AIDS. Zinc supplementation did not change the VACS Index score but may have been limited by low adherence.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01934803.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.4330DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7210486PMC
May 2020

Contribution of Behavioral Health Factors to Non-AIDS-Related Comorbidities: an Updated Review.

Curr HIV/AIDS Rep 2020 08;17(4):354-372

Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Purpose Of Review: We summarize recent literature on the contribution of substance use and depression to non-AIDS-related comorbidities. Discussion of recent randomized clinical trials and implementation research to curtail risk attributed to each behavioral health issue is provided.

Recent Findings: Smoking, unhealthy alcohol use, opioid use, and depression are common among PWH and individually contribute to increased risk for non-AIDS-related comorbidities. The concurrence of these conditions is notable, yet understudied, and provides opportunity for linked-screening and potential treatment of more than one behavioral health factor. Current results from randomized clinical trials are inconsistent. Investigating interventions to reduce the impact of these behavioral health conditions with a focus on implementation into clinical care is important. Non-AIDS-defining cancers, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and diabetes are leading causes of morbidity in people with HIV. Behavioral health factors including substance use and mental health issues, often co-occurring, likely contribute to the excess risk of non-AIDS-related comorbidities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11904-020-00498-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7363585PMC
August 2020

Associations of Total, Cognitive/Affective, and Somatic Depressive Symptoms and Antidepressant Use With Cardiovascular Disease-Relevant Biomarkers in HIV: Veterans Aging Cohort Study.

Psychosom Med 2020 06;82(5):461-470

From the Department of Psychology (Stewart, Polanka), Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, Indiana; Department of General Internal Medicine (So-Armah), Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts; Office of Epidemiology (White), Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Phoenix, Arizona; Division of Infectious Disease (Gupta), Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana; Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine (Kundu, Freiberg), Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee; Department of Medicine (Chang), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Tennessee Valley Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Centers (Freiberg), Nashville, Tennessee.

Objective: We sought to determine the associations of total, cognitive/affective, and somatic depressive symptoms and antidepressant use with biomarkers of processes implicated in cardiovascular disease in HIV (HIV-CVD).

Methods: We examined data from 1546 HIV-positive and 843 HIV-negative veterans. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and past-year antidepressant use was determined from Veterans Affair pharmacy records. Monocyte (soluble CD14 [sCD14]), inflammatory (interleukin-6 [IL-6]), and coagulation (D-dimer) marker levels were determined from previously banked blood specimens. Linear regression models with multiple imputation were run to estimate the associations between depression-related factors and CVD-relevant biomarkers.

Results: Among HIV-positive participants, greater somatic depressive symptoms were associated with higher sCD14 (exp[b] = 1.02, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.00-1.03) and D-dimer (exp[b] = 1.06, 95% CI = 1.00-1.11) after adjustment for demographics and potential confounders. Further adjustment for antidepressant use and HIV factors slightly attenuated these relationships. Associations were also detected for antidepressant use, as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor use was related to lower sCD14 (exp[b] = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.91-1.00) and IL-6 (exp[b] = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.76-0.96), and tricyclic antidepressant use was related to higher sCD14 (exp[b] = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.03-1.12) and IL-6 (exp[b] = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.02-1.28). Among HIV-negative participants, total, cognitive/affective, and somatic depressive symptoms were associated with higher IL-6, and tricyclic antidepressant use was related to higher sCD14.

Conclusions: Our novel findings suggest that a) monocyte activation and altered coagulation may represent two pathways through which depression increases HIV-CVD risk and that b) tricyclic antidepressants may elevate and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may attenuate HIV-CVD risk by influencing monocyte and inflammatory activation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000808DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7282983PMC
June 2020

HIV and cardiovascular disease.

Lancet HIV 2020 04;7(4):e279-e293

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville VA Medical Center, VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, TN, USA.

HIV-related cardiovascular disease research is predominantly from Europe and North America. Of the estimated 37·9 million people living with HIV worldwide, 25·6 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. Although mechanisms for HIV-related cardiovascular disease might be the same in all people with HIV, the distribution of cardiovascular disease risk factors varies by geographical location. Sub-Saharan Africa has a younger population, higher prevalence of elevated blood pressure, lower smoking rates, and lower prevalence of elevated cholesterol than western Europe and North America. These variations mean that the profile of cardiovascular disease differs between low-income and high-income countries. Research in, implementation of, and advocacy for risk reduction of cardiovascular disease in the global context of HIV should account for differences in the distribution of traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors (eg, hypertension, smoking), consider non-traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors (eg, access to antiretroviral therapy with more benign cardiovascular disease side effect profiles, indoor air pollution), and encourage the inclusion of relevant risk reduction approaches for cardiovascular disease in HIV-care guidelines. Future research priorities include implementation science to scale up and expand integrated HIV and cardiovascular disease care models, which have shown promise in sub-Saharan Africa; HIV and cardiovascular disease epidemiology and mechanisms in women; and tobacco cessation for people living with HIV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(20)30036-9DOI Listing
April 2020

Precision nicotine metabolism-informed care for smoking cessation in Crohn's disease: A pilot study.

PLoS One 2020 26;15(3):e0230656. Epub 2020 Mar 26.

Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.

Introduction: Smoking is a strong risk factor for disease severity in Crohn's disease (CD) and cessation improves outcomes. The nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR) predicts cessation success with pharmacotherapy: varenicline doubles cessation over nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for "normal", but not "slow" metabolizers. Varenicline side effects are heightened in slow metabolizers. Methods using NMR to optimize cessation pharmacotherapy have not been evaluated in CD.

Aims: We aim to determine the prevalence of smoking in a CD population and then assess these smokers' attitudes toward a personalized metabolism-informed care (MIC) approach to cessation.

Methods: In this observational study, we surveyed 1098 patients visiting an inflammatory bowel disease center about their smoking history. We then evaluated a subgroup of individuals with CD (n = 32) who participated in a randomized controlled trial of smoking cessation using MIC versus usual care. For MIC, medication selection was informed by the NMR (normal ≥0.31 vs. slow <0.31). The primary outcomes were intervention satisfaction and match rates between NMR and medication choice.

Results: The baseline prevalence of smoking in our CD population was 13%. Intervention participants reported high rates of satisfaction (85%) and chose a medication that matched their NMR result more often in the MIC group (100% vs. 64%, p = 0.01). Six of 16 (37.5%) patients prescribed varenicline discontinued due to side effects.

Conclusion: MIC produced high rates of satisfaction and matching between NMR and medication in CD patients, supporting patient acceptance and feasibility of precision smoking cessation in this population. To reduce smoking in CD, therapies such as MIC are needed to maximize efficacy and minimize side effects.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0230656PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7098646PMC
June 2020

FIB-4 stage of liver fibrosis is associated with incident heart failure with preserved, but not reduced, ejection fraction among people with and without HIV or hepatitis C.

Prog Cardiovasc Dis 2020 Mar - Apr;63(2):184-191. Epub 2020 Feb 15.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, TN, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Liver fibrosis, is independently associated with incident heart failure (HF). Investigating the association between liver fibrosis and type of HF, specifically HF with reduced ejection fraction (EF; HFrEF) or HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), may provide mechanistic insight into this association. We sought to determine the association between liver fibrosis score (FIB-4) and type of HF, and to assess whether HIV or hepatitis C status modified this association.

Methods: We included patients alive on or after 4/1/2003 from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study. We followed patients without prevalent cardiovascular disease until their first HF event, death, last clinic visit, or 9/30/2015. We defined liver fibrosis as: likely advanced fibrosis (FIB-4 > 3.25), indeterminate (FIB-4 range 1.45-3.25), unlikely advanced fibrosis (FIB-4 < 1.45). Primary outcomes were HFrEF and HFpEF (defined using ICD-9 diagnoses for HF, and EF extracted from electronic medical records using natural language processing). Cox proportional hazards models were adjusted for potential confounders and used to estimate hazard ratios (HR).

Results: Among 108,708 predominantly male (96%) participants mean age was 49 years. Likely advanced fibrosis was present in 4% at baseline and was associated with an increased risk of HFpEF [HR (95% confidence interval)] [1.70 (1.3-2.3)]; and non-significantly with HFrEF [1.20 (0.9-1.7)]. These associations were not modified by HIV or hepatitis C status.

Conclusion: Likely advanced fibrosis was independently associated with incident HFpEF but not HFrEF. This suggests that risk factors and/or mechanisms for liver fibrosis may have greater overlap with those for HFpEF than HFrEF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pcad.2020.02.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7278895PMC
June 2020

T Lymphocyte Subsets Associated With Prevalent Diabetes in Veterans With and Without Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

J Infect Dis 2020 06;222(2):252-262

Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Background: A higher proportion of circulating memory CD4+ T cells is associated with prevalent diabetes mellitus in the general population. Given the broad changes in adaptive immunity, including memory T-cell expansion, and rising prevalence of diabetes in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) population, we assessed whether similar relationships were present in persons with HIV (PWH).

Methods: Multiple CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subsets were measured by flow cytometry, and prevalent diabetes cases were adjudicated by 2 physicians for PWH and HIV-negative participants in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study. Multivariable logistic regression models evaluated the association of T-cell subsets and diabetes stratified by HIV status, adjusted for cytomegalovirus serostatus and traditional risk factors.

Results: Among 2385 participants (65% PWH, 95% male, 68% African American), higher CD45RO+ memory CD4+ T cells and lower CD38+ CD4+ T cells were associated with prevalent diabetes, and had a similar effect size, in both the PWH and HIV-negative (P ≤ .05 for all). Lower CD38+CD8+ T cells were also associated with diabetes in both groups.

Conclusions: The CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subsets associated with diabetes are similar in PWH and HIV-negative individuals, suggesting that diabetes in PWH may be related to chronic immune activation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiaa069DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7323499PMC
June 2020

Cardiovascular Effects of Androgen Deprivation Therapy in Prostate Cancer: Contemporary Meta-Analyses.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2020 03 23;40(3):e55-e64. Epub 2020 Jan 23.

From the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine (J.-R.H., M.S.D., J.D.B., W.C.M., M.S.F., J.-E.S., J.A.B., J.J.M.), Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

Androgen deprivation therapy is a cornerstone of prostate cancer treatment. Pharmacological androgen deprivation includes gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonism and antagonism, androgen receptor inhibition, and CYP17 (cytochrome P450 17A1) inhibition. Studies in the past decade have raised concerns about the potential for androgen deprivation therapy to increase the risk of adverse cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiovascular mortality, possibly by exacerbating cardiovascular risk factors. In this review, we summarize existing data on the cardiovascular effects of androgen deprivation therapy. Among the therapies, abiraterone stands out for increasing risk of cardiac events in meta-analyses of both randomized controlled trials and observational studies. We find a divergence between observational studies, which show consistent positive associations between androgen deprivation therapy use and cardiovascular disease, and randomized controlled trials, which do not show these associations reproducibly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.119.313046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7047549PMC
March 2020

Association of Diastolic Dysfunction with Reduced Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Adults Living with HIV.

AIDS Patient Care STDS 2019 12;33(12):493-499

Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Despite the high prevalence of diastolic dysfunction in adults living with HIV, the impact on cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is understudied. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the relationship between cardiac function and CRF in adults with HIV. Adults receiving antiretroviral therapy with no history of coronary artery disease (CAD) or heart failure were eligible to participate. Cardiac function was assessed by resting Doppler echocardiography. CRF was measured by oxygen utilization at peak exercise (VOpeak). The majority of participants were African American (86%) and male (97%) with a mean [standard deviation (SD)] age of 56.6 (7.1) years and median CD4 lymphocyte count of 492 cells/mL. The mean (SD) VOpeak was 26.1 (5.5) mL/(kg·min). Age, diabetes, hypertension, and hemoglobin were associated with VOpeak. Overall, diastolic dysfunction was present in 38% and was associated with lower VOpeak ( < 0.05). VOpeak was lower among those with impaired myocardial relaxation (e' <8 cm/s) compared with normal relaxation [mean ± SE mL/(kg·min), 25.2 ± 0.6 vs. 27.7 ± 0.9,  < 0.05]. Adjusted for age and clinical factors, each unit increase in left ventricular relaxation (E/A) was associated with an average 4.4 mL/(kg·min) higher VOpeak, representing more than one metabolic equivalent. We conclude that diastolic dysfunction is independently associated with clinically significant low CRF in adults with HIV and no history of CAD or heart failure. These results highlight the importance of recognizing diastolic dysfunction in individuals living with HIV regardless of their cardiovascular disease history.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/apc.2019.0149DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6918848PMC
December 2019

Neutrophil-to-Lymphocyte and Platelet-to-Lymphocyte Ratios as Prognostic Inflammatory Biomarkers in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), and HIV/HCV Coinfection.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2019 Oct 26;6(10):ofz347. Epub 2019 Jul 26.

Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.

Background: Inflammation in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients is associated with poorer health outcomes. Whether inflammation as measured by the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR) adds information to existing prognostic indices is not known.

Methods: We analyzed data from 2000 to 2012 in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS), overall and stratified by HIV/hepatitis C virus status (n = 89 786). We randomly selected a visit date at which all laboratory values of interest were available within 180 days; participants with HIV received at least 1 year of antiretroviral therapy. We followed patients for (1) mortality and (2) hepatic decompensation (HD) and analyzed associations using Cox regression, adjusted for a validated mortality risk index (VACS Index 2.0). In VACS Biomarker Cohort, we considered correlation with biomarkers of inflammation: interleukin-6, D-dimer, and soluble CD-14.

Results: Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio and PLR demonstrated strong unadjusted associations with mortality ( < .0001) and HD ( < .0001) and were weakly correlated with other inflammatory biomarkers. Although NLR remained statistically independent for mortality, as did PLR for HD, the addition of NLR and PLR to the VACS Index 2.0 did not result in significant improvement in discrimination compared with VACS Index 2.0 alone for mortality (C-statistic 0.767 vs 0.758) or for HD (C-statistic 0.805 vs 0.801).

Conclusions: Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio and PLR were strongly associated with mortality and HD and weakly correlated with inflammatory biomarkers. However, most of their association was explained by VACS Index 2.0. Addition of NLR and PLR to VACS 2.0 did not substantially improve discrimination for either outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofz347DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6786514PMC
October 2019
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