March 20, 2006

Periodontitis linked to coronary heart disease

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

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.

SOURCE: The Archives of Internal Medicine, March 13, 2006.