The aim of this study was to examine the possible association between the progression of small abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and chronic infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae.Methods
Patients from a hospital-based mass screening programme for AAA with annual follow-up (mean 2.7 years) were included. After initial interview, 139 men aged 65-73 years with a small AAA underwent examination and blood sampling. Immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgA titres against C. pneumoniae were measured by a microimmunofluorescence test.Results
Some 83 (95 per cent confidence interval 74-93) per cent of the men had an IgA titre of 20 or more, or an IgG titre of 32 or more. Men with an IgA titre of 20 or more had a 48 per cent higher AAA expansion rate than those with a titre of less than 20 (3.1 versus 2.1 mm/year; P < 0.05). Multiple linear and logistic regression analyses showed that an IgA titre of 20 or more was a significant independent predictor of increased AAA expansion, adjusted for known risk factors of expansion. Initial AAA size and serum total cholesterol level were also predictors of expansion.Conclusion
A high proportion of men with a small AAA had signs of chronic infection with C. pneumoniae. Aneurysm progression correlated with evidence of chronic C. pneumoniae infection.