Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are independently associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the factors associated with NAFLD in persons living with HIV (PWH) and whether CVD is more frequent in PWH with NAFLD are currently unknown.
From the Partners HealthCare Research Patient Data Registry, we identified PWH with and without NAFLD between 2010-2017. NAFLD was defined using validated histological or radiographic criteria. CVD was defined by an ICD-9 diagnosis of coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization, peripheral vascular disease, heart failure, transient ischemic attack, or stroke and was confirmed by clinician review. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to examine the relationship between NAFLD and CVD.
Compared with PWH without NAFLD (n=135), PWH with NAFLD (n=97) had higher body mass index and more frequently had hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, coronary artery disease, and CVD (p<0.01 for all). PWH with NAFLD were also more likely to have CD4+ T cell counts (CD4) <200 cells/mm. In multivariable models, the presence of NAFLD was significantly associated with CVD (aOR 3.08, 95% CI 1.37-6.94) and CD4 <200 cells/mm (aOR 4.49, 95% CI 1.74-11.55).
In PWH, CVD was independently associated with prevalent NAFLD after controlling for traditional CVD risk factors. NAFLD was also associated with CD4 <200 cells/mm, suggesting that immune dysfunction may be related to NAFLD. Both CVD and low CD4+ count as risk factors for NAFLD require prospective evaluation.