Unlikely association between clinically apparent herpesvirus infection and coronary incidence at older ages. The Framingham Heart Study.
Experimental studies in chickens have shown a relationship of a herpesvirus to atherosclerosis. The hypothesis of an association in humans was tested by using data on the history of cold sores and other manifestations of herpes infections reported by 658 male and 919 female participants (ages 58 to 89) in the Framingham Heart Study from 1977 to 1979 and on the prevalence and subsequent 6-year incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD). Approximately 40% of the men and 52% of the women reported a history of ever having "fever blisters or cold sores." Overall, there was no association between a history of such oropharyngeal manifestations and prevalent CHD. Only in the subgroup of women with recurrent infections was there a suggestion of a possible relationship (relative risk = 1.5, 95% confidence interval 1.0 to 2.1). Among members of the cohort without CHD at baseline there was no association between the history of cold sores, chicken pox, shingles, or infectious mononucleosis and 6-year CHD incidence. However, a possible interaction among women with recurrent herpes, lower levels of serum cholesterol, and incidence of angina pectoris without myocardial infarction was suggested in post hoc analyses. These data from the Framingham cohort do not support the notion that any self-reported clinically manifest herpesvirus infection has a strong etiological role in older persons, but they do raise issues to be addressed in any further research.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association