Infective endocarditis is a lethal disease that is accompanied by consequences such as heart failure, septic embolism, stroke, and organ failure, and has a high in-hospital death rate of 20%. The current global trend of growing endocarditis incidence has drawn international attention; however, the identification of risk factors remains insufficient.
Recently, a research team from Korea University Anam Hospital (Professor Yang-hyun Kim and Professor Go-eun Shin of Department of Family Medicine, medical resident Kyu-bae Lee, and Professor Hee-joong Kim of Thoracic Surgery) and Professor Kyung-do Han of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences at Soongsil University discovered for the first time in the world that hypertension is closely associated with infective endocarditis.
From 2009 to 2018, the research team examined the nine-year data of 4,080,331 individuals from the National Health Insurance Service's national examination, and found that 812 of them were identified as having infective endocarditis. As shown by the study, the association between high blood pressure and infective endocarditis increases as blood pressure rises.
Compared to normal blood pressure (systolic less than 120 mmHg, diastolic less than 80 mmHg), the risk of infective endocarditis was 1.39 times greater in the prehypertensive stage (systolic more than 120 mmHg and less than 140 mmHg, diastolic more than 80 mmHg to less than 90 mmHg). Hypertension was 2.15 times more prevalent (systolic more than140mmHg, diastolic more than 90mmHg). In individuals who have previously been diagnosed with hypertension and are receiving medication therapy, the incidence rate was 2.9 times higher.
The first author of the study, Kyu-bae Lee, noted, "Although research in the past was extremely restricted, we were able to acquire high-quality research results using domestic big data." He added, "We will contribute to public health by continuing research on chronic illness management and cardiovascular disease prevention."
Professor Yang-Hyun Kim said, "It is noteworthy since it is the first study to demonstrate that high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart-invading infective endocarditis. High blood pressure cannot directly cause infective endocarditis, but it might establish an environment that is conducive to its development, necessitating ongoing monitoring and control."
Professor Hee-joong Kim stressed, "Despite vigorous internal and exterior therapy, infective endocarditis remains a serious condition with a poor prognosis. However, given the lack of epidemiological studies and analysis of infective endocarditis, we anticipate that the results of this study will contribute to the development of new research fields and the improvement of public health."
The study, titled "Association Between Hypertension and Incident Infective Endocarditis," was published in the most recent issue of Hypertension, a journal published by the American Heart Association, and is garnering attention both domestically and internationally.