NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Patients with periodontitis
, especially infections causing a high concentration of pathogens in the blood, have an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), according to findings published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
"Chronic inflammation from any source is associated with increased cardiovascular risk," Dr. Wolfgang Koenig, of the University of Ulm Medical Center, Germany, and colleagues write. "Periodontitis is a possible trigger of chronic inflammation."
The researchers examined the association between CHD and periodontitis, focusing on microbial features of the disorder. A total of 789 subjects, including 263 patients with stable CHD and 526 without CHD who served as a comparison group, were enrolled in the Coronary Event and Periodontal Disease study.
DNA testing was used to analyze subgingival biofilm samples for pathogens that cause periodontal disease: Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Tannerella forsythensis, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia, and Treponema denticola.
The results of analyses that considered other potential risk factors found a significant association between high levels of periodontal pathogen and the presence of CHD. A significant association was also found between the number of A. actinomycetemcomitans in periodontal pockets and CHD.
A potentially prominent role for A. actinomycetemcomitans is supported by the recent finding that high levels of A. actinomycetemcomitans antibodies also predict an increased risk of stroke.