Background: Restenosis occurs commonly after coronary angioplasty and atherectomy, but the causes of restenosis are poorly understood. Recently, it has been found that cytomegalovirus (CMV) DNA is present in restenotic lesions from atherectomy specimens. This and other evidence suggest that CMV may have a role in the process of restenosis. Methods: We prospectively studied 75 consecutive patients undergoing directional coronary atherectomy for symptomatic coronary artery disease. Before atherectomy was performed, we measured blood levels of anti-CMV IgG antibodies to determine whether previous exposure to CMV increased the risk of restenosis, as determined by coronary angiography performed six months after atherectomy. Results: After atherectomy, the mean (±SD) minimal luminal diameter of the target vessel was greater in the 49 patients who were seropositive for CMV than in the 26 patients who were seronegative (3.18±0.51 mm vs. 2.89±0.45 mm, P=0.01). After six months, however, the seropositive patients had a greater reduction in the luminal diameter (1.24±0.83 mm vs. 0.68±0.69 mm, P=0.003), resulting in a significantly higher rate of restenosis in the seropositive patients (43 percent vs. 8 percent, P=0.002). In a multivariable logistic-regression model, CMV seropositivity and the CMV titer were independently predictive of restenosis (odds ratios, 12.9 and 8.1, respectively). There was no evidence of acute infection, since the titer of anti-CMV IgG antibodies did not increase over time and tests for anti-CMV IgM antibodies were negative in all patients. Conclusions: Prior infection with CMV is a strong independent risk factor for restenosis after coronary atherectomy. If confirmed, these findings may help identify patients at risk for restenosis.
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