Several case reports and series described ischaemic cerebrovascular events in HIV infection. However, the exact prevalence and the clinical features of these events are unknown. We performed a cohort study on 772 consecutive HIV infected patients and evaluated the rate of transient ischaemic attacks (TIA) and of completed stroke. A total prevalence of 1.9% for TIA (0.8%) and stroke (1.2%) was calculated resulting in an annual incidence rate of 216 per 100,000. The prevalence was highest in the later stages of the infection. Stroke patients had a poorer immunological state than the TIA and the cohort patients. Probable (n = 3) and possible (n = 2) vasculitis and cardiogenic embolism (n = 2) could be detected as aetiology, the remaining patients had a cryptogenic event. Our data suggest that ischaemic cerebrovascular events are more common in HIV infected patients than in the general population and that a part of these events might be caused by HIV associated vasculitis or vasculopathy.
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