Tongue Microbes Provide Window to Heart Health; Recent Results Suggest These Easily-Obtained Microorganisms Might Assist with Wide-Scale Screening, Diagnosis, and Long-Term Monitoring of Heart Failure

Microorganisms on the tongue could help diagnose heart failure, according to research presented on June 23, 2020 on HFA (Heart Failure Association) Discoveries (, a scientific platform of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The abstract of the presentation is titled “Tongue Coating Microbiome Data Distinguish Patients with Chronic Heart Failure from Healthy.” “The tongues of patients with chronic heart failure look totally different from those of healthy people," said study author Tianhui Yuan, PhD, No. 1 Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. "Normal tongues are pale red with a pale white coating. Heart failure patients have a redder tongue with a yellow coating and the appearance changes as the disease becomes more advanced. Our study (Tongue coating microbiome data distinguish patients with chronic heart failure from healthy) found that the composition, quantity, and dominant bacteria of the tongue coating differ between heart failure patients and healthy people," she said. Previous research has shown that microorganisms in the tongue coating could distinguish patients with pancreatic cancer from healthy people ( The authors of that study proposed this as an early marker to diagnose pancreatic cancer. And, because certain bacteria are linked with immunity, the authors suggested that the microbial imbalance could stimulate inflammation and disease. Inflammation and the immune response also play a role in heart failure. The current study investigated the composition of the tongue microbiome in participants with and without chronic heart failure.
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