Cerebrovascular Disease in Children Perinatally Infected With Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Zambia

Colleen L. Schneider, Sarah Mohajeri-Moghaddam, Esau G. Mbewe, Pelekelo P. Kabundula, Owen Dean, Alexandra Buda, Michael J. Potchen, Sylvia Mwanza-Kabaghe, Deanna Saylor, Heather R. Adams, Gretchen L. Birbeck, David R. Bearden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: High rates of cerebrovascular disease (CVD) have previously been described in pediatric human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, little is known about pediatric CVD in the era of antiretroviral therapy or about the contribution of CVD to HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Methods: We completed a neuroimaging substudy of the HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders in Zambia study, a prospective cohort study of neurocognitive complications of pediatric HIV. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (1.5 T) was acquired for 34 HIV+ children on antiretroviral therapy and 17 HIV-exposed uninfected children (aged eight to 17 years). Demographics, medical history, neurological examination, and neuropsychologic testing results were collected. Two neuroradiologists, unaware of HIV status and clinical course, read the scans. Results: CVD was identified in seven of 34 children with HIV (HIV+ CVD+) and no HIV-exposed uninfected children (21% vs 0%, P = 0.05). Three participants had white matter changes suggestive of small vessel disease, four had infarcts, and two had evidence of intracranial artery stenosis. Age of antiretroviral therapy initiation and exposure to protease inhibitors or efavirenz was not significantly different between children with and without CVD. HIV+ CVD+ children had significantly worse scores on a summary measure of cognition than the HIV+ CVD− group (NPZ8 score −0.57 vs 0.33, P = 0.04). Conclusions: This study demonstrates high rates of CVD in children with HIV despite antiretroviral therapy, and worse cognitive performance in children with CVD. Longitudinal studies are necessary to determine the mechanisms and incidence of new-onset CVD in children with HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-21
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Neurology
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Africa
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Global health
  • HIV
  • Pediatric neurology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cerebrovascular Disease in Children Perinatally Infected With Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Zambia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this