Health

Gum Infection May Risk Heart Arrhythmia: Research

Heart Arrhythmia
Inam Ansari
January30/ 2023

Hiroshima (Japan): Periodontitis, or gum disease, can cause a slew of dental problems, ranging from foul breath to bleeding and tooth loss. Hiroshima University researchers have discovered that it may be linked to far more serious disorders elsewhere in the body -- the heart. In a study published in JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology, the team found a significant correlation between periodontitis and fibrosis -- scarring to an appendage of the heart's left atrium that can lead to an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation -- in a sample of 76 patients with cardiac disease. "Periodontitis is associated with a long-standing inflammation, and inflammation plays a key role in atrial fibrosis progression and atrial fibrillation pathogenesis," said first author Shunsuke Miyauchi, assistant professor with the Hiroshima University's Health Service Center. He is also affiliated with the university's Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, adding, "We hypothesized that periodontitis exacerbates atrial fibrosis. This histological study of left atrial appendages aimed to clarify the relationship between clinical periodontitis status and degree of atrial fibrosis." The left atrial appendages were surgically removed from the patients, and the researchers analyzed the tissue to establish the correlation between the severity of the atrial fibrosis and the severity of the gum disease. They found that the worse the periodontitis, the worse the fibrosis, suggesting that the inflammation of gums may intensify inflammation and disease in the heart. "This study provides basic evidence that periodontitis can aggravate atrial fibrosis and can be a novel modifiable risk factor for atrial fibrillation," said corresponding author Yukiko Nakan ...

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