Acute dental infections and cardiac arrhythmias: a systematic literature
review and case report
Objectives: In this paper we outline how inflammation related to oral
disease such as periodontitis, bacteraemia and pulpal lesions have been
linked to cardiovascular disease and undertake a systematic review of
the literature focused on acute dental infection and cardiac arrhythmia.
We also describe an illustrative case where an acute oral infection was
associated with occurrence of new onset atrial fibrillation (AF).
Methods: An electronic search was undertaken using MEDLINE and SCOPUS
from 01 Jan 1970 until 30 June 2020. We also undertook manual searches
using forward and backward citation chasing. Inclusion criteria were any
primary research studies investigating symptomatic apical infections or
dental abscess with outcomes of arrythmia. Results Over the last fifty
years, only two low quality studies have been investigated this area.
Our illustrative case involved a 58-year-old who was diagnosed with an
acute dental infection from an upper canine tooth. The patient later
developed tachycardia and new-onset AF. Conclusions: Based on the
biological plausibility of a link between acute dental infection and
arrythmia, together with the case report presented, it is evident that
further study in this area is needed. If there are possible
cardiovascular consequences for patients suffering acute dental
infections, this has future implications for healthcare staff as they
can integrate professional advice related to oral health and
cardiovascular disease. Screening programmes situated in dental settings
can also facilitate early intervention and prevention producing benefits
not just for patients, but in savings to the health system.