From the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Tokyo Graduate School of Medicine (N.I., M.O., R.N.); Center for Multiphasic Health Testing and Services, Mitsui Memorial Hospital (Y.I., E.T., E-i.T., M.Y.); and Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine (H.H.), Tokyo, Japan.
Correspondence to Nobukazu Ishizaka, MD, PhD, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Medicine, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan. E-mail nobuishizka-***@****
Background— Recent experimental and epidemiological findings suggest that some infectious agents play a role in the development and promotion of atherosclerosis. We have investigated the possible association between hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) positivity and carotid arteriosclerosis.
Methods and Results— In this cross-sectional cohort study, we analyzed data from subjects undergoing general health-screening tests, including both high-resolution B-mode carotid ultrasound and assessment of HBsAg status, between 1994 and 2001 at our institute. Of the 4686 study subjects (3137 men and 1549 women; age 22 to 88 years), 1294 (28%) had carotid artery plaque and 40 (0.9%) were positive for HBsAg, indicating they were hepatitis B virus carriers. No HBsAg-positive subjects were positive either for antibodies against the hepatitis C virus (HCV) or for HCV core proteins. Univariate analysis revealed HBsAg positivity was associated with carotid plaque with an odds ratio of 1.58 (95% CI, 1.14 to 2.19, P<0.05). When other confounding risk factors for atherosclerosis were included as covariates in the statistical analysis, HBsAg positivity was still positively associated with carotid plaque with an odds ratio of 1.57 (95% CI, 1.10 to 2.24, P<0.05).
Conclusions— These findings suggest a possible role of chronic hepatitis B infection in the pathogenesis of carotid arteriosclerosis.
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