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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2005 Apr;29(4):403-11.

Secondary prevention of atherosclerosis through chlamydia pneumoniae eradication (SPACE Trial): a randomised clinical trial in patients with peripheral arterial disease.

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Department of Surgery, Maastricht University Hospital, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands.



Sero-epidemiological and experimental studies suggest that Chlamydia pneumoniae infections play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis. Clinical trials have shown contradictory results regarding the efficacy of antibiotics to prevent atherosclerosis-related complications in patients with coronary artery disease. Our aim was to study the effect of a short course of azithromycin on the incidence of cardiovascular events and peripheral vascular function in patients with stable peripheral arterial disease (PAD).


Five hundred and nine PAD-patients were randomised to receive either a 3-day course of azithromycin (500 mg daily) or placebo, with 2 years of follow-up. C. pneumoniae serology was determined at baseline. Clinical endpoints were death, coronary events (myocardial infarction, unstable angina, and/or coronary revascularization procedures), cerebral events (stroke, TIA, and/or carotid endarterectomy) and peripheral arterial complications (increased PAD-symptoms with decreased ankle-brachial index (ABPI, 0.1-point decrease after 12 months), and/or peripheral revascularization procedures).


Five hundred and nine patients (160 women) with an atherosclerotic risk factor profile were randomised, 257 patients to azithromycin and 252 to placebo. Four hundred and forty nine patients (88%) had intermittent claudication and 60 (12%) had critical limb ischemia. By 24-month follow up, 182 patients (36%) developed 252 complications (45 deaths, 34 coronary events, 34 cerebral events and 139 peripheral arterial complications). C. pneumoniae IgA-titres were associated with the development of cardiovascular events. Nevertheless, the number of complications (131 in the azithromycin group vs. 121 in the placebo group) and the number of patients that developed complications (98 (38%) in the azithromycin vs. 84 (33%) in the placebo group) was comparable in both treatment groups. Life table analysis showed no effect of azithromycin on survival or ABPI.


A short-term course of azithromycin offers no benefits for survival or ankle pressure in PAD-patients.

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