Patients with hypertension may be vulnerable to vascular Chlamydia pneumoniae and/or cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection because of increased expression of adhesion molecules.
To determine whether C pneumoniae or CMV is associated with the presence of atherosclerotic lesions in hypertensive patients.
Ninety-six angiographic studies on 100 consecutive patients with of clinical signs or symptoms suggestive of renovascular hypertension were reviewed for the presence or absence of atherosclerotic lesions at the level of the renal arteries as well and abdominal aorta. Also, the presence of a hemodynamically notable renal artery stenosis and antibodies to C pneumoniae (IgG and IgA) and CMV (IgG and IgM) was determined, and all classic risk factors were recorded.
Atherosclerotic lesions were documented in 67 patients (70%), and in 49 patients (51%) such lesions were persent at the level of the renal artery. In the univariate analysis, significant associations between IgG (odds ratio, 3.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-11.7; P = .02) as well as IgA (odds ratio, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-6.7; P = .03) antibodies to C pneumoniae and the presence of atherosclerosis were found for both the aorta and the renal arteries. Seroprevalence (IgG) to C pneumoniae in the 23 patients with a hemodynamically notable renal artery stenosis was 100% and differed (P = .01) from those without a notable renal artery stenosis (78%). In the multivariate analysis, IgG seropositivity to C pneumoniae was significantly associated with atherosclerosis (odds ratio, 6.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.33-27.5; P = .02), and age. There was no association between CMV seropositivity and atherosclerosis.
The presence of antibodies to C pneumoniae was significantly associated with atherosclerosis and renovascular disease in hypertensive patients in whom a renal artery stenosis was strongly suspected.