Intended for healthcare professionals


Study confirms previous findings

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 27 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:251
  1. Antonio Ponzetto,
  2. Maria Teresa La Rovere,
  3. Patrizia Sanseverino,
  4. Franco Bazzoli
  1. Scientific coordinator, department of experimental gastroenterology Assistant professor, division of cardiology Biologist, department of microbiology Ospedale Molinette, Turin, Italy
  2. Professor of gastroenterology University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

    EDITOR,—P Patel and colleagues' study substantiates our observation of an association between infection with Helicobacter pylori and coronary heart disease.1 The first report from the group2 prompted our retrospective serological study among patients presenting to the emergency care unit of our hospital.3 Currently we are recruiting all patients admitted to the coronary unit of our hospital with acute myocardial infarction during the time that one of us (MTLR) is on duty there. Patients recruited from 1 July to 30 September 1995 are analysed here. In addition to being tested for antibodies, all patients were assessed for the presence of H pylori infection with the carbon-13 urea breath test, which was performed according to the European standard protocol.4 Volunteer blood donors attending the blood bank of our hospital served as controls.

    Twenty four (89%) of the 27 patients with myocardial infarction and 291 (47%) of the 619 blood donors were found to be infected with H pylori. As only two women had been admitted to the coronary unit (both of whom were positive for H pylori infection) we assessed only the male patients and compared them with blood donors of similar age. Table 1 gives the results; the Mantel-Haenszel weighted odds ratio was 4.4 (95% confidence interval 1.2 to 20.6).

    Table 1

    Prevalence of H pylori infection among men with myocardial infarction and controls aged 40 and over. Figures are numbers (percentages)

    View this table:

    The preliminary findings from this population case-control study confirm previous reports of an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction in men infected with H pylori. In our final analysis several potentially confounding variables will be taken into account. We believe, however, that a randomised study is needed to determine more clearly the effect of eradicating H pylori infection in patients at high risk of myocardial infarction.


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