According to new research finds heart patients who are given antibiotics after being hospitalized have a lower risk of returning to the hospital for chest pain within a year. Researchers from Croydon Hospital, England say that the reduced risk was not related to the presence of two bacteria suspected of playing a role in heart disease. The effect was seen regardless of whether a person was infected with the bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori or Chlamydia pneumoniae.
For the study, researchers enrolled 300 hospitalized patients who suffered a heart attack or unstable angina. Within 48 hours after being admitted, patients either received either an antibiotic or a placebo. The antibiotics given were amoxycillin or azithromycin.
During the one-year follow-up, researchers found patients who received the antibiotics were 30 percent less likely to be rehospitalized for unstable angina or a nonfatal heart attack. Furthermore, the patients on antibiotics were less like to suffer a fatal heart attack than those who took a placebo.
Researchers say, at the start of the study, 130 patients tested positive for the antibodies to H. pylori and 130 had antibodies for C. pneumoniae. Researchers say this played no role in who had a beneficial effect from the antibiotics.
Researchers conclude the study shows inflammation plays a major role in coronary heart disease. However, they write, "Our study design does not allow us to draw conclusions about the beneficial effects in all patients. Further studies are needed to investigate the reasons for the long-term effects of a short course of antibiotic treatment."