Increased susceptibility to gingival colonization by specific HACEK microbes in children with congenital heart disease

Robert Steelman, Stanley Einzig, Arpy Balian, John Thomas, David Rosen, Robert Gustafson, Lori Gochenour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


It is well established that infective endocarditis (IE) involving the HACEK (Heinophilits, Actinobaccillus, Cardiobacter, Eikenella, Kingella) group of microbes occurs in patients with congenital heart defects (CHD) and in those with prosthetic grafts. Dental caries and gingival disease have been presumed to be the focus of microbial shedding. The purpose of this study was to determine if children with CHD had a more severe gingival inflammatory condition and harbored the HACEK group of microbes to a greater extent than normal children. Two groups of 12 age and sex matched children were selected for this study. The experimental group consisted of twelve children with CHD, 1-1/2 to 8 years of age. The control group consisted of 12 healthy children 2 to 8 years of age. Each child had a gingival index score recorded as described by Massler. Subgingival cultures were obtained. Gingival samples were cultured for HACEK microbes and total Streptococcus (spp) using standard techniques. Fisher's exact test was performed with significance defined at P<0.05. Children with CHD had more severe gingival inflammatory index than the control group (P<0.05). 8/12 CHD patient had Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans (A.a.) as compared with 2/12 controls (P<0.05). Furthermore, all cyanotic CHD patients (4/4) had A.a. whereas, only 2/12 controls did (P<0.05). 4/12 CHD patients harbored Eikenella corrodens (E.c.) compared to 1/12 controls (N.S.). There was no significant difference in colonization with E.c. or A.a. between cyanotic and acyanotic patients. No significant difference in total Streptococcus (spp) was found between the two groups. This study suggests that children with CHD have a more severe gingival inflammatory index and are colonized with specific HACEK microbes more so than normal children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-94
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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