Objective: To study possible associations between coronary heart disease and serological evidence of persistent infection with Helicobacter pylori, Chlamydia pneumoniae, or cytomegalovirus.
Design: Population based, case-control study, nested within a randomised trial.
Setting: Five general practices in Bedfordshire, UK.
Individuals: 288 patients with incident or prevalent coronary heart disease and 704 age and sex matched controls.
Results: High concentrations of serum IgG antibodies to H pylori were present in 54% of cases v 46% of controls, with corresponding results for C pneumoniae seropositivity (33% v 33%), and cytomegalovirus seropositivity (40% v 31%). After adjustments for age, sex, smoking, indicators of socioeconomic status, and standard risk factors, the odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for coronary heart disease of seropositivity to these agents were: 1.28 (0.93 to 1.75) for H pylori, 0.95 (0.66 to 1.36) for C pneumoniae, and 1.40 (0.96 to 2. 05) for cytomegalovirus.
Conclusions: There is no good evidence of strong associations between coronary heart disease and serological markers of persistent infection with H pylori, C pneumoniae, or cytomegalovirus. To determine the existence of moderate associations between these agents and disease, however, larger scale studies will be needed that can keep residual confounders to a minimum.