Presentation Title

Triggering of Coronary Heart Disease by Infection Type: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

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Abstract or Description

Introduction: Acute infections are known triggers of coronary heart disease (CHD). It is unclear how the strength of the association varies by infection type.

Hypothesis: We hypothesized that all acute infections increase CHD risk but the level of increased risk varies by infection type.

Methods: Incident CHD (myocardial infarction and fatal CHD) cases were identified and adjudicated in the ARIC cohort. ARIC participants were linked to Medicare claims data. We used ICD-9 codes to identify 4 infection types based on infection frequency: cellulitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTI), and bloodstream infections. We used a case-crossover design and conditional logistic regression to compare infections among CHD cases 90 days before the event with two corresponding control periods 1 year and 2 years prior. The Wald test was used to assess differences between infection types.

Results:A total of 1,312 CHD cases were identified. Among cases, 43 had cellulitis, 102 had pneumonia, 116 had a UTI, and 28 had a bloodstream infection within 90 days of the CHD event. All infection types were associated with higher CHD risk within 90 days of the infection; (odds ratios and 95% Cis) (cellulitis = 1.41 (0.93, 2.15), pneumonia = 5.60 (3.72, 8.43), UTI = 2.62 (1.92, 3.57), bloodstream infections = 4.77 (2.34, 9.71)) although cellulitis was not statistically significant (Figure). The association between infection and CHD was significantly stronger for pneumonia, UTI, and bloodstream infections compared to cellulitis (p

Conclusions: Patients with pneumonia or bloodstream infections may be at particularly elevated CHD risk. Clinical trials of CHD preventive therapies during and immediately following infection to reduce the otherwise elevated CHD risk are needed. Healthcare providers should consider CHD risk during and immediately after infection and optimize preventive therapies.


American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle Annual Conference (AHA)


New Orleans, LA