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Invasive Dental Treatment and Risk for Vascular Events FREE

[+] Article and Author Information

The summary below is from the full report titled “Invasive Dental Treatment and Risk for Vascular Events. A Self-Controlled Case Series.” It is in the 19 October 2010 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 153, pages 499-506). The authors are C. Minassian, F. D'Aiuto, A.D. Hingorani, and L. Smeeth.


Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(8):I-45. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-153-8-201010190-00002
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Low-grade dental infection, including periodontitis, has been associated with an increased long-term risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, and stroke. Adults are advised to make regular oral care a health care priority to prevent such illnesses.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To investigate whether invasive dental treatment (treatment that causes bleeding and escape of mouth bacteria into the bloodstream) might itself result in acute inflammation in the short term, paradoxically increasing the risk for cardiovascular events in the short term, even though benefiting patients' long-term cardiac health.

Who was studied?

The medical records of 32,060 adults who received health care through the federal Medicaid program were reviewed.

How was the study done?

The researchers identified persons who had had a heart attack or stroke and then looked to see whether they had had an invasive dental procedure during their enrollment in Medicaid.

What did the researchers find?

Persons had a slightly higher risk for heart attack or stroke in the 4 weeks after an invasive dental procedure than at other times.

What were the limitations of the study?

Only patient records—not patients themselves—were studied. Data were examined in retrospect. The types of dental procedures varied.

What are the implications of the study?

Although persons may have a slight increased risk for heart attack or stroke in the weeks immediately after a dental procedure, this small risk is almost certainly outweighed by the long-term health benefits of good oral care on cardiovascular risk. Patients who have just had a dental procedure, like all persons, should know the early warning signs of a heart attack and stroke and seek immediate medical care if they occur.

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