Acute respiratory tract infections: a potential trigger for the acute coronary syndrome

Ann Med. 2008;40(2):121-8. doi: 10.1080/07853890701753672.


Clinical studies suggest that acute respiratory tract infection (ARTI) may be a risk factor for the acute coronary syndrome (ACS). ARTI is associated with an increased risk for ACS up to 2 weeks prior to a cardiac event. The mechanism that may underlie this association is unclear. Infections are thought to play a role in the progression and instability of atherosclerotic plaques, resulting in plaque rupture, sudden constriction, and/or blockage of coronary arteries. Inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and thrombotic activation seem to play an important role in this. Influenza vaccination may reduce the risk of ACS in patients with coronary artery disease. Future studies will provide more information about the underlying mechanisms of infection-related ACS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / etiology*
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Acute Disease
  • Atherosclerosis / complications
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Causality
  • Comorbidity
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Vaccination