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Health Agencies Update
July 17, 2002

Maternal HIV and Children's Hearts

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JAMA. 2002;288(3):307. doi:10.1001/jama.288.3.307

Children born to mothers with HIV infection tend to have larger and less efficient hearts than those of children born to mothers without the virus. In maternally infected children, the initially mild abnormalities may persist and, in some cases, worsen. Long-term cardiac consequences for uninfected children of HIV-positive mothers remain unknown, according to research sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

The Pediatric Pulmonary and Cardiovascular Complications of Vertically Transmitted HIV Infection Study assessed heart structure and function by echocardiogram in 556 newborns of HIV-infected mothers (93 newborns were HIV-positive; 463 were HIV-negative). The children were reexamined every 4 to 6 months for 5 years.