Saturday, July 22, 2006
Helicobacter pylori linked to circulatory disease
Common bacteria linked to circulatory disease
Reuters HealthWednesday, July 19, 2006
By David Douglas
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Infection by Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria associated with peptic ulcers and gastric cancer, also appears to increase the risk of diseases of the circulation, also referred to as "vascular disease," according to an analysis by Italian researchers.
Lead investigator Dr. Vincenzo Pasceri told Reuters Health that "clinical studies on the association between H. pylori and vascular diseases have produced conflicting results. While some studies have shown a significant association, these results have not been confirmed in others.
In the June issue of the American Heart Journal, Pasceri of San Filippo Neri Hospital, Rome, and colleagues report on their review of 17 studies that looked at the role of cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA)-positive strains of H. pylori in patients with vascular disease of the heart and brain. More than 6,000 patients were included.
Overall, 13 studies found a statistically significant relationship between positive strains of CagA and heart disease. However, this relationship was not seen in CagA-negative strains. In 4 other studies, there was a significant association between brain disease and CagA-positive strains of H. pylori and, again, no association with negative strains.
Infection with CagA-positive H. pylori strains is associated with a modest but significant risk of vascular heart disease, continued Dr. Pasceri.
"Even a modest increase in cardiovascular risk may have great clinical importance," he concluded, "since chronic infection by virulent strains of H. pylori may be present in 20 percent to 40 percent of the population in Western countries."
Am Heart J 2006;151:1215-1222.