Background: Incidental findings are a well-known complication of imaging studies done for both diagnostic and research purposes. Little is known about the rates and types of incidental findings found on brain MRI in patients with HIV infection, who may be at risk for HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND). Methods: The parent study included 108 adults with HIV infection and 125 demographically-matched uninfected controls who completed MRI and neuropsychological testing. Incidental findings were classified by the study team as vascular, neoplastic, congenital, other neurologic, or non-neurologic. Categorical measures were compared using Pearson chi-square tests; continuous measures were compared using t-tests. Results: Among participants with HIV infection, 36/108 (33%) had incidental findings compared to 33/125 (26%) controls (p = 0.248). Rates of incidental findings were significantly correlated with increasing age in both participants with HIV infection (p = 0.013) and controls (p = 0.022). We found no correlation between presence of incidental findings and sex or race/ethnicity among either cohort, and no correlation with CD4 count or HAND status for the HIV-infected cohort. Conclusions: Incidental findings were common in both participants with HIV infection and controls, at higher rates than previously reported in healthy populations. There was no significant difference in prevalence between the groups.
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