Lege Artis Medicinae

[Current questions on Pneumococcus infections: cardiovascular complications, cardiotoxicity and new opportunities for prevention among elderly people]

LUDWIG Endre

NOVEMBER 03, 2015

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2015;25(10)

[The respiratory tract infections, first of all severe pneumonia are associated with severe cardiovascular adverse events the significance of which that had not been recognised so far. Among the adverse events, the development of acute coronaria syndromes, heart failure, arrhythimias are the most important ones leading to significatly higher mortality even after several years. In the development of acute coronaria syndrome , the proinflammatory activites play the cenral role leading to the instability of coronaria plaques and plaque rupture associated with formation of platelet thrombi. The constriction of coronariae, peripherial vasodilatation and hypoxia also contribute to the deleterius complications. The role of pneumococci in this process seems to be especially significant since this pathogen exhibit a unique direct cardiotoxic effect, namely directly invades the myocardium and produce cardiotoxic substances. As a consequence, impairement of cardiomyocite function and contractility and formation of microscopic lesions in which later collagen deposition and long-term cardiac scarring can be detected. These pathological processes are developed despite of antibiotic treatment, consequently, vaccination against pneumococcal infection seems to be the only method for efficacious prevention of the myocardium damage and cardiovascular adverse events. According to the results of the CAPITA study, the conjugate polisaccharide vaccine decrease the number of pneumococcal pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal infections by 45 and 75% resp. in the elderly population. The recognition of the direct and indirect role of pneumococci in the development of early and late cardiovascluar adverse events gives a new aspect of the beneficial effect of efficacious vaccination.]

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