Abstract
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is the most frequent infectious cause of death in western countries. The high mortality rate in CAP is commonly related to comorbid conditions such as cardiovascular disease.Clinical studies in both primary and secondary care settings have identified an increase in short- and long-term risk of cardiovascular events and death from vascular events following acute respiratory infections. The mechanism remains to be fully established, but it has been suggested that the inflammatory state in patients affected by CAP acts to promote platelet activation and thrombosis, and to narrow coronary arteries through vasoconstriction. Acute infections destabilise vascular endothelium and create an imbalance between myocardial oxygen supply and demand, leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Acute infections have been shown to have both systemic effects and local effects on coronary vessels. These effects are mediated through both the host response to infection and, in some cases, direct effects of bacterial infection or bacterial products.In this review, we discuss the link between CAP and increased risk of cardiovascular events, drawing on existing evidence from clinical and mechanistic studies. Further studies into and increased awareness of this association is warranted to promote novel ways of protecting high-risk patients.