Treating gum disease ‘can lower risk of atrial fibrillation’

Treating gum disease 'may reduce risk of atrial fibrillation'

Treating gum disease after heart surgery for atrial fibrillation (AFib) may help prevent the condition from returning, a new report says.

Published on Journal of the American Heart AssociationOne study found that cleaning teeth can improve the prognosis of AFib.

The study was conducted between April 1, 2020, and July 31, 2022, and 92 participants received radiofrequency catheter ablation as well as treatment for gum inflammation.

The other 191 participants also underwent ablation procedures but did not receive treatment for gum inflammation.

Each patient was followed up at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after the ablation procedure, and then every six months.

Recurrence rate

Findings include:

  • A quarter (24%) of participants experienced a recurrence of AFib
  • Those who had severe gum inflammation but received treatment were 61% less likely to develop AFib again compared with those who had severe gum inflammation but received no treatment
  • People who experience a recurrence of AFib are more likely to have more severe gum disease
  • Having gum disease, being female, experiencing arrhythmias for more than two years, and left atrial volume were predictors of AFib recurrence.

“Gum disease can be improved through dental intervention,” said the study's lead author Shunsuke Miyauchi, an assistant professor at Hiroshima University Health Services Center in Japan.

“Proper management of gum disease appears to improve the prognosis of AFib, and many people around the world could benefit from this.”

He added: “While the main findings were consistent with their expectations, we were surprised by how useful a quantitative index of gum disease, called periodontal inflamed surface area, or PISA, might be in cardiovascular clinical practice.”

risk factors

New research also examines the link between vaping and heart failure – a condition that affects one in five vapers.

Researchers at Medstar Health in Baltimore analyzed data from 175,667 adult participants in the United States over four years. Of these e-cigarette users, 3,242 developed heart failure during the study period. For people who had never vaped, the rate was 19% higher than expected.

Various socioeconomic and demographic factors were considered in determining the study findings. For example, other heart disease risk factors and substance use such as alcohol and tobacco.

The researchers found no evidence that age, gender or smoking status affected the relationship between e-cigarettes and heart failure.

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