Background: Systolic blood pressure is well known to increase significantly with age and is strongly correlated with stroke and coronary artery disease. We and other investigators have reported a low prevalence of hypertension in subgroups of patients with HIV infection. In the present study, we examined an ambulatory population of patients with HIV infection to determine whether in the outpatient setting they may lack an age-related increase in systolic blood pressure. Methods: In an ambulatory outpatient practice, medical records of 178 consecutive patients with HIV infection and those of 200 control subjects were examined. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure and other clinical and laboratory variables were recorded. Scatter plots were generated to compare age with systolic blood pressure. Spearman rank correlation analysis was carried out to determine the relationship between systolic blood pressure and age and other variables. Results: Patients ranged in age from 13 to 69 years. There was only a very slight increase (which did not achieve statistical significance) in systolic blood pressure with aging in the patients with HIV infection, in contrast to the control population, in which an age-related increase in systolic blood pressure was seen that was comparable to published Framingham data. Mean systolic blood pressure for the group as a whole was 118.2 ± 1.1 mm Hg. Mean serum albumin was 4.2 ± 0.04 g/dL and was only slightly diminished in older patients. Mean serum cholesterol was 176.8 ± 3.4 mg/dL and this bore no relationship to aging. More advanced stages of HIV infection also did not correlate with the lack of age-associated systolic hypertension. Conclusion: The present population of ambulatory patients infected with HIV seem to lack an age-related increase in systolic blood pressure; this may be caused by such variables as autonomic dysfunction or factors that may attenuate the development of atherosclerosis.
- HIV infection
- Systolic blood pressure