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Panminerva Medica 2006 December;48(4):241-6


lingua: Inglese

Updated review (2006) on Helicobacter pylori as a potential target for the therapy of ischemic heart disease

Pellicano R. 1, Peyre S. 2, Astegiano M. 1, Oliaro E. 3, Fagoonee S. 4, Rizzetto M. 1

1 Department of Gastro-Hepatology Molinette Hospital, Turin, Italy 2 Gastroenterology Unit Cuorgné Hospital, Cuorgné, Turin, Italy 3 Department of Cardiology, Molinette Hospital, Turin, Italy 4 Department of Biology, Biochemistry and Genetics, University of Turin, Turin, Italy


Despite knowledge about the classical risk factors for ischemic heart disease (IHD) has increased, all the differences in morbidity as well as mortality from this disease cannot be fully explained. Hence the importance of looking for other causal mechanisms. Numerous infectious agents have been linked to IHD and among these also Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). However, a number of studies have reported conflicting results. The present review attempts to highlight on the update pertaining a potential etiologic role of H. pylori infection in the pathogenesis of IHD. Some new evidences have emerged in the last years in literature. While epidemiological approach seems to confirm previous uncertainties (hypothetical role of the bacterium in the acute phase), experiments have demonstrated the presence of bacterial DNA in the plaque. Furthermore, the most encouraging evidence of a possible association emerges from an intervention small trial showing a significant reduction of coronary events after H. pylori eradication. Because IHD is the outcome of a multiciplity of factors, many of which with only a limited individual effect, complete understanding of causation is difficult. It may be possible to identify some factors, such as H. pylori, the effects of which are large enough to be potential target for prevention. This is of major public health importance, since the eradication of the infection is easy and certainly much less expensive than long-term treatment for other risk factors. Prospective population-based studies and interventional trials, focusing on the advantage of the eradication of H. pylori infection on the prevention or the reduction of recurrence in subjects with IHD, should be performed in order to provide support of a causal relationship. This represents a promising direction for future studies.

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