Dr. Kim Mulvihill ReportingCardiovascular disease is the number one killer of American men and women, but a promising strategy to prevent heart attacks just fell by the wayside.
What happened is good science, two very large studies to be specific. As we learn more about what triggers heart disease one theory keeps gaining ground and that's the role of inflammation.
Here's the idea, chlamydia pneumoniae-- a common type of bacteria -- causes inflammation within blood vessels. That in turn triggers atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Block the vessel and you've got a heart attack.
So why not attack the bacteria with antibiotics -- treat the infection, and reduce the risk of disease? Researchers tracked eight thousand patients with heart disease who took antibiotics or a placebo regularly for up to two years. As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, taking antibiotics for a year, or even two years, did not lower the risk of heart attacks.