Background: Periodontal disease (PD) has been linked to adverse cardiovascular events, but the mechanism for this association is unknown. We hypothesized that PD is common in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and, when present, may result in an enhanced systemic inflammatory response with higher C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.
Methods: Periodontal examinations and serum high sensitivity CRP measurements were performed in 40 patients with AMI (11 women; mean age, 60 +/- 15 years) during the index hospitalization. The control group comprised 40 sex and race frequency-matched, community volunteers (9 women; mean age, 64 +/- 5 years) without known heart disease.
Results: Both the prevalence of PD and mean serum CRP levels were significantly higher in the patients with AMI than in the control subjects (48% vs 17%, P <.001 and 40.2 vs 7.9 mg/L, P <.001, respectively). Patients with AMI who had PD had significantly higher CRP levels than patients with AMI who did not have PD (50.7 vs 30.7 mg/L, P <.001). With linear regression analysis, a positive relationship was shown between the extent of PD and serum CRP levels, and with a multivariate regression model that included smoking, diabetes mellitus, infarct size and PD, PD emerged as a strong and independent predictor of elevated CRP levels (r2 = 0.33, P =.004).
Conclusions: Periodontal disease is common in patients with AMI and is associated with an enhanced inflammatory response expressed by higher CRP levels. The association of PD with CRP levels in patients with AMI appears to be independent of other contributing factors.