Failure to detect Chlamydia pneumoniae in coronary atheromas of patients undergoing atherectomy

J Infect Dis. 1996 Apr;173(4):957-62. doi: 10.1093/infdis/173.4.957.


To further investigate a proposed relationship between Chlamydia pneumoniae and coronary heart disease, coronary atheromas were collected from patients undergoing percutaneous atherectomy. Fifty-eight atheroma specimens were examined by culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and 22 by electron microscopy. All were negative for C. pneumoniae, except a single specimen that was PCR-positive. These results differ from studies in other populations, in which this organism was identified by nonculture methods within coronary atheromas obtained at autopsy. Anti-C. pneumoniae antibody titers from 65 of the patients were compared with those of 28 asymptomatic controls. IgG titers were higher in controls than in patients. There is no evidence that C. pneumoniae exists within atheromas in this study population, nor does seroprevalence correlate with the presence of coronary disease in these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Atherectomy
  • Chlamydia Infections / complications
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydia Infections / immunology
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / pathogenicity*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Serologic Tests


  • Antibodies, Bacterial