Indicators of infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae are associated with expansion of abdominal aortic aneurysms

J Vasc Surg. 2001 Aug;34(2):212-5. doi: 10.1067/mva.2001.115816.


Purpose: Chlamydia Pneumoniae has been shown to be associated with atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, and abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). The possible association between AAA expansion and C pneumoniae infection was therefore assessed.

Methods: Blood samples were taken from patients with an AAA that was considered for surgical repair after having been diagnosed by means of the Chichester aneurysm screening program (UK) as having an initially infrarenal aortic diameter of 3.0 to 5.9 cm. The patients were examined prospectively for as long as 11.5 years (mean, 4.1 years) with ultrasound scanning. Of 110 patients considered for surgery, 90 men and 10 women had blood samples taken. Their IgG and IgA antibodies against C pneumoniae were measured by means of a microimmunofluorescence test. Unpaired t tests, multiple linear regression analyses, and logistic regression analyses were used for statistical analysis.

Results: A total of 44% (95% CI, 31%-55%) of the men with an AAA had an IgA titer of 64 or more, an IgG titer of 128 or more, or both, compared with 10% of the women with an AAA (OR = 7.2; 95% CI, 1.05-160.8). A titer of IgG of 128 or more was significantly associated with higher expansion (5.3 vs 2.6 mm per year), even after adjustment for initial AAA size and age. A significant positive correlation between both IgA and IgG titers and mean annual expansion was observed (r = 0.28; 95% CI, 0.05-0.49; and r = 0.45; 95% CI, 0.24-0.62, respectively), persisting after adjusting for initial AAA size and age. An IgG titer of 128 or more was present significantly more often in cases with an expansion greater than 1 cm annually (adjusted OR = 12.6; 95% CI, 1.37-293).

Conclusion: A high proportion of men with an AAA has signs of infection with C pneumoniae. The progression of their AAAs was positively correlated with the presence of indicators of C pneumoniae infection.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / complications*
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / epidemiology
  • Chlamydophila Infections / epidemiology
  • Chlamydophila Infections / etiology*
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male