Purpose: To study surgically excised vascular tissue from lower extremities for the presence of Chlamydia pneumoniae, to extend the previously described association of the organism with atherosclerosis.
Methods: Arterial biopsy specimens obtained from femoral and popliteal arteries during bypass operation for claudication were examined by immunocytochemical analysis and polymerase chain reaction for the presence of organisms.
Results: C. pneumoniae was detected in atherosclerotic plaques by either method in either artery of 11 of 23 patients (48%). Eight of 21 popliteal and three of 18 femoral arteries had positive results.
Conclusions: Detection of C. pneumoniae in peripheral arteries indicates that the organism is widespread in atherosclerosis of the vascular system.