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Scand J Infect Dis. 1997;29(4):361-5.

High incidence of Chlamydia pneumoniae in sclerotic heart valves of patients undergoing aortic valve replacement.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden.


Chlamydia pneumoniae has previously been demonstrated in the atherosclerotic lesions of various arteries, including the coronary arteries, and has been proposed to play a role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. A prospective study of the incidence of C. pneumoniae in the sclerotic valves of patients undergoing aortic valve replacement because of aortic stenosis and in the aortic valves of cases dying of non-cardiac reasons and undergoing forensic autopsy was undertaken. The results were correlated to serological markers of past (IgG) or persistent (IgA) C. pneumoniae infection. C. pneumoniae, as determined by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), was detected in the aortic valve in 19/39 (49%) patients and in 1/11 (9%) autopsy controls (p = 0.018) and confirmed by electron microscopy in one patient. There was no significant difference in the incidence rate of IgG or IgA antibody positivity between PCR-positive and PCR-negative cardiac patients. These results extend the hypothesis of a pathogenic role of C. pneumoniae in atherosclerosis to include also aortic valve sclerosis.

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