Cytomegalovirus infection and coronary heart disease risk: a meta-analysis

Mol Biol Rep. 2012 Jun;39(6):6537-46. doi: 10.1007/s11033-012-1482-6. Epub 2012 Feb 4.


The chronic inflammatory process including cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection has been hypothesized to induce the progression of atherosclerosis in coronary heart disease (CHD). Numbers studies were conducted to analyze the association between CMV infection and risk of CHD, but no clear consensus had been reached. To assess this relationship more precisely, a meta-analysis was performed. The electronic databases PubMed, Embase, and CNKI were searched; data were extracted and analyzed independently by two investigators. Ultimately, 55 studies, involving 9,000 cases and 8,608 controls from six prospective studies (all with a nested case-control design) and 49 retrospective case-control studies were included. Overall, people exposed to CMV infection had an odds ratio (OR) of 1.67 (95% CI, 1.56-1.79) for CHD risk, relative to those not exposed. CMV infection was clearly identified as a risk factor for CHD in both prospective studies (OR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.132-1.517) and retrospective studies (OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.659-1.939), and in both Asian group (OR, 2.69; 95% CI, 2.304-3.144) and non-Asian group (OR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.371-1.600). Interestingly, in the subgroup analyses by detection methods of CMV, the increased risk (OR, 8.121) was greater among studies using polymerase chain reaction than the risk (OR, 1.561) among studies using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In conclusion, this meta-analysis suggested that CMV infection is associated with an increased risk for CHD, especially among Asian populations.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Coronary Artery Disease / virology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Odds Ratio
  • Publication Bias
  • Risk Factors