Study objectives: We conducted a retrospective study on patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and evaluated the incidence and prevalence of Chlamydia pneumoniae infection.
Methods: Sixty-one consecutive patients with AMI aged younger than 65 years were enrolled. Within 24 h of hospital admission, serum samples and pharyngeal swab specimens were obtained from all patients. In 49 of 61 patients, after a mean of 28 days from hospital admission, a second serum sample was drawn. A third serum sample was obtained in 23 of 61 patients. Serologic testing for Chlamydia pneumoniae was performed by a microimmunofluorescence test. We applied a nested-polymerase chain reaction for C pneumoniae DNA detection to pharyngeal swab specimens. Simultaneously, we performed a serologic study for C pneumoniae infection on 61 serum samples obtained from blood donors, matched for age, sex, and smoking habits.
Results: Serologic test results for C pneumoniae were consistent with acute reinfection in 12 patients, with chronic infection in 23 patients, and results were negative in 26 patients with AMI. In 3 of 12 patients with acute reinfection pattern and in 3 of 23 patients with chronic infection pattern, C pneumoniae DNA was detected on pharyngeal swab specimens. A significantly higher prevalence of IgG titers was observed in patients with AMI (35/61) compared to blood donors (18/61) (p=0.003).
Conclusion: Our data confirm the possible role of C pneumoniae infection in coronary heart disease and suggest that reinfection may trigger the onset of AMI.