Helicobacter pylori infection linked to increased carotid intima-media thickness: A meta-analysis

By Samar Mahmoud, MS
Published January 28, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • This meta-analysis found that Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is associated with increased carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT)

  • This study highlights the potential benefit of H. pylori testing in individuals with a thicker carotid intima-media (CIM)

  • Eradication of H. pylori infection in the global population could serve as an intervention strategy to reduce risk of future cerebrovascular and cardiovascular events.

Approximately 50% of the world’s population is infected with H. pylori, which can cause severe gastrointestinal disease as well as extragastrointestinal disorders, such as vascular diseases.

Why This Study Matters

Previous studies have suggested a link between H. pylori infection and thickening of the carotid artery wall layers. However, due to many contradictory findings, strong evidence of this association is lacking in the present literature. This study sought to fill this gap by evaluating the association between H. pylori infection and CIMT.

Study Design

Investigators searched electronic databases for studies comparing the thickness of the CIM in non-infected and H. pylori-infected individuals until October 20, 2020.  Thirteen single-center, retrospective, observational studies met the inclusion criteria for this study’s systematic review and meta-analysis.

A total of 2298 individuals, consisting of 1360 H. pylori positive and 938 uninfected, were included in the study. 

Results and Conclusions

Investigators reported a significant difference in the overall CIMT, which was thicker 

In H. pylori-positive individuals (P=0.004). 

The overall CIMT of H. pylori-positive individuals was 0.07 mm thicker than in the uninfected group. 

A significantly increased CIMT was also found in the right carotid artery, with a 0.08 mm increase in H. pylori-positive individuals compared to the H. pylori-negative group (P=0.007)

There was no significant difference in CIMT in the left carotid artery between the two groups (P=0.176)

Related Research

Consider these findings from similar research studies:

  • H. pylori-positive individuals have higher carotid intima-media thickness and epicardial adipose tissue thickness compared with uninfected individuals (Source). 

  • H. pylori infection is associated with increased risk of stroke (Source).

Original Source 

Simon OA, Görbe A, Hegyi P, et al. Helicobacter pylori infection is associated with carotid intima and media thickening: a systematic review and meta‐analysis. JAHA. Published online January 21, 2022:e022919.

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