Younger People With HIV at Greater Risk for Blood Clotting Condition, Study Says
HIV-positive people younger than 50 years of age may be at increased risk for venous thromboembolism, a potentially fatal type of blood clot, according to a new study, Reuters Health reports. Venous thromboembolism is a condition in which a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the legs. If the clot breaks free and travels to the lungs, it may block an artery there, causing pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. The study, published in the journal AIDS Patient Care and STDs, evaluated the medical records of 244 individuals with venous thromboembolism and 362 HIV-positive individuals. All of the participants had been discharged from Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, between July 1998 and June 1999. Although HIV-positive participants, as a group, were not more likely to have a blood clot, HIV-positive participants under the age of 50 were significantly more likely to have deep-vein blood clots. The study states that 22% of participants younger than 50 who had venous thromboembolism also had HIV. Among HIV-positive participants younger than 50, men were more likely to have venous thromboembolism, despite the fact that younger women are more likely than younger men overall to have the condition. The study researchers state that it is not clear whey some people with HIV appear to be at greater risk for venous thromboembolism, noting that this trend is "surprising" because the condition generally occurs among older people. Lead study author Dr. Peter Smith said that doctors who encounter an HIV-positive patient with "unexplained respiratory symptoms" should consider the possibility of pulmonary embolism (McKinney, Reuters Health, 5/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.