Bacteria in the body can contribute to heart problems, researchers find

Even the microbes in the body can contribute to the risk of heart attack according to research presented at the 2019 world cardiology congress.

The study analyzed the bacteria present in the coronary plaques. Researchers have discovered that, unlike bacteria in other areas of the body, such as those in the intestinal microbiome, these bacteria can be pro-inflammatory.

The study analyzed 30 patients with acute coronary syndrome and another 10 patients with stable angina. The researchers took intestinal bacteria from the stool and coronary plaque bacteria.

They then compared the two microbiomes and realized that while the fecal bacteria showed a mostly heterogeneous composition and a greater presence of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, the Koranic plaque bacteria mainly contained microbes with pro-inflammatory phenotypes belonging to proteobacteria and actinobacteria.

The first author of the study, Eugenia Pisano, of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, comments on the results in the press release published on the website of the European Society of Cardiology: “This suggests a selective retention of pro-inflammatory bacteria in atherosclerotic plaques, which could cause an inflammatory response and plaque rupture.”

However, the same researcher states that further research will have to be done to understand if these human microbiomes can become a target, to be treated for example with antibiotics, to prevent negative cardiovascular events.