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Impact of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy on paediatric Human Immunodeficiency Virus-associated left ventricular dysfunction within the Johannesburg teaching hospital complex

  • Lungile Pepeta (a1) and Antoinette M. Cilliers (a2)



To analyse the outcome of children with left ventricular dysfunction placed on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy.


This study is a retrospective review of records of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-positive children with left ventricular dysfunction. Demographic data were collected. Left ventricular fractional shortening, CD4 percentage, viral load, and nutritional status were compared before and during antiretroviral therapy.


We reviewed the records of 34 Human Immunodeficiency Virus-positive children with left ventricular dysfunction. In all, 18 patients received antiretroviral therapy (group one) and 16 were antiretroviral therapy naive (group two). The median age of group one at initial visit was 94 months, with a male-to-female ratio of 1:1. Of those, 17 children showed improved left ventricular function on treatment, with an increase in fractional shortening (median: 17–33.5%; p less than 0.0001). There was no significant statistical difference between the groups regarding initial fractional shortening. In group one, the CD4 percentage improved (median: 12% to 30.5%; p less than 0.0001), with viral load suppression (median: 24,900 copies per millilitre to less than 25 copies per millilitre; p less than 0.0001). There was weight gain in group one (median z-score: −1.70 to −1.32; p equal to 0.0083). Proper statistical analysis in group two was not possible because of poor follow-up of patients.


The findings are in keeping with other reports that have shown improvement in left ventricular function in patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus-associated cardiomyopathy treated with Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy. Recovery of myocardial function is associated with improvement in immunological and nutritional statuses.


Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Dr L. Pepeta, FC Paed (SA), Cert. Cardiology (SA), Paediatrics Department, Dora Nginza Hospital, Spondo Street, Algoa Park, Port Elizabeth 6001, South Africa. Tel: +27 (0)414064327; Fax: +27 (0)413630406; E-mail:


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