South African Journal of Surgery
On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate peripheral arterial occlusive disease in HIV-infected patients regarding clinical presentation and outcome of surgical intervention. DESIGN: Prospective clinical survey. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Routine voluntary testing for HIV/AIDS was performed in all patients presenting to our vascular unit. HIV+ patients were enrolled in a registry and followed up prospectively. RESULTS: We identified 154 HIV+ patients, of whom 91 (59%) presented with occlusive disease. There were 71 males and 20 females with a mean age of 44.2 years. The usual risk factors for atherosclerosis were present, but the incidence was less than reported in the classic atherosclerosis population. More than 90% of the patients presented with advanced stage vascular disease (Fontaine III/IV), which explains the high rate (31.9%) of primary amputation. Eighty-seven patients presented with lower-limb ischaemia, 2 patients with upper-limb ischaemia and 2 patients with symptomatic carotid artery stenosis. Seventy-eight procedures were performed on 72 patients, with a perioperative mortality of 6.95%. The limb salvage rate for femoro-popliteal bypass procedures was poor (36.1%), resulting in a high incidence of secondary amputations and prolonged hospital stay. Long-term mortality for the operated patients was 20% over a mean follow-up period of 15.4 months. Hypo-albuminaemia was found to be an important predictor of outcome. CONCLUSION: Patients presenting with HIV-associated peripheral arterial disease should be carefully selected for intervention, taking into consideration nutritional and immune status, stage of the vascular disease and selecting the appropriate procedure.