Researchers from the University of Granada have demonstrated for the first time that chronic periodontitis, an inflammatory gum disease which provokes gradual teeth loss, is closely related to the severity of acute myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack.
In a pioneering research, published in the Journal of Dental Research, and titled "Acute myocardial infarct size is related to periodontitis extent and severity," this team has demonstrated that the extent and severity of chronic periodontitis is related to the size of acute myocardial infarction through seric levels of troponin I and myoglobin (biomarkers of myocardial necrosis).
This research results in part from the conclusions of Rafael Martín Marfil Álvarez's doctoral dissertation, which was directed by UGR professors Francisco Mesa Aguado (Stomatology Department), José Antonio Ramírez Hernández (Medicine Department), and Andrés Catena Martínez (Experimental Psychology Department). This research analysed 112 patients who had suffered from acute myocardial infarction, at the Virgen de las Nieves University Hospital Cardiology Unit. They all underwent a series of cardiological, biochemical and periodontal health checks and tests.
According to professor Francisco Aguado, one of the authors of this research (which will have to be confirmed through further research), "chronic periodontitis appears as a death risk factor and it plays an important role in the prognosis of acute myocardial infarction."
Researchers point out that it will be necessary to conduct follow-up checks with periodontal patients who have suffered myocardial infarction in order to determine the severity (or lack of it) of their clinical evolution (new coronary events, cardiac failure, or even death).
"If that happens to be the case, chronic periodontitis should be considered as a predictor in the development of myocardial infarction, and be therefore included in the risk stratification scores," according to Mesa Aguado.
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