Extended care for people with HIV improved cardiovascular health outcomes

A nurse talks on the phone and smiles.

Advancements in antiretroviral treatment have helped people with HIV live longer and researchers have been studying ways to improve other outcomes, such as offsetting risks for cardiovascular disease. Through a 12-month trial, researchers found that an extended care program — led by nurses providing participants with extra support at home — improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These findings published in JAMA Network Open

As part of the trial, 297 adults with high cholesterol and blood pressure were included in the study. Approximately 149 participants were randomized into an extended-care intervention. Nurses helped participants monitor their blood pressure at home, adjusted their medications if needed, and stayed in contact by phone to support their health needs. Participants in the control group received health education materials about preventing heart disease. Both groups had medical check-ins every four months. 

After a year, participants in the intervention group reduced their average systolic blood pressure by 4 mm Hg and improved their cholesterol by nearly 17 mg/dL compared to the control group. The authors explain these types of reductions are associated with, respectively, a 14% and 9% reduced risk for atherosclerotic heart disease. The research was supported by NHLBI.