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J Vasc Surg. 2009 Jul;50(1):23-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2008.12.048.

The effect of azithromycin and Chlamydophilia pneumonia infection on expansion of small abdominal aortic aneurysms--a prospective randomized double-blind trial.

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Institution of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala, Gävle, Sweden.



The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of azithromycin on the expansion rate of small abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs), and to determine whether or not a correlation exists between serological markers for Chlamydophilia pneumonia (Cpn) infection and AAA expansion.


Nine vascular centers were included and 259 patients were invited to participate. Ten patients declined and 2 patients had chronic kidney failure, leaving a total of 247 patients. Inclusion criteria were: AAA 35-49 mm and age <80 years. Patients were randomized to receive either azithromycin (Azithromax, Pfizer Inc, New York, NY) 600 mg once daily for 3 days and then 600 mg once weekly for 15 weeks, or placebo in identical tablets. The ultrasound scans were performed in a standardized way within a month before inclusion and every 6 months for a minimum follow-up time of 18 months. Cpn serology was analyzed in blood samples taken at inclusion and 6 months later. Serum was analyzed for Cpn IgA and IgG antibodies by microimmunofluorescence (MIF). Computed tomography (CT) scans were done in 66 patients at inclusion and at 1 year for volume calculations.


Thirty-four patients were excluded, ie, could not be followed for 18 months, 20 in the placebo group and 16 in the active treatment group. A total of 211 patients had at least two measurements and all were analyzed in an intention-to-treat analysis. Detectable IgA against Cpn was found in 115 patients and detectable IgG against Cpn in 160 patients. No statistically significant differences were found between the groups regarding median expansion rate measured by ultrasound scan (0.22 cm/year, interquartile range [IQR]: 0.09 to 0.34 in the placebo group vs 0.22, IQR: 0.12 to 0.36 in the treatment group, P = .85). Volume calculation did not change that outcome (10.4 cm(3)/year in the placebo group vs 15.9 cm(3)/year in the treatment group, P = .61). No correlation was found between serological markers for Cpn infection and the expansion rate. Patients taking statins in combination with acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) had significantly reduced expansion rate compared to patients who did not take statins or ASA, 0.14 cm/year vs 0.27 cm/year, P < .001.


Azithromycin did not have any effect on AAA expansion. No correlation was found between serological markers for Cpn and AAA expansion, indicating no clinical relevance for Cpn testing in AAA surveillance. However, a significant reduction in AAA expansion rate was found in patients treated with a combination of ASA and statins.

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