Patients with some of the most common lung diseases are substantially more likely to suffer a heart attack and develop other major heart problems according to new research.
The team of heart and lung doctors from the University of Manchester and Aston Medical School found people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung fibrosis, were more likely to develop, and die from, heart disease and heart failure.
The study of nearly 100,000 people with lung disease in the North West of England who were followed up for up to 14 years is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The increased risk was in addition to the risk posed by other common conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
However, despite the association, the team found that patients with lung disease were less likely to receive heart bypass surgery or angioplasty.
First author Dr Paul Carter, part of the ACALM Study Unit, Aston Medical School said: “The most striking findings were that the risk of coronary heart disease was increased by 50% in patients with asthma, 60% in patients with lung fibrosis and 70% in patients with COPD. Furthermore, having COPD more than doubled the risk of developing heart failure.”
Dr Rahul Potluri, founder of the ACALM Study Unit, Aston Medical School, said: “Despite the increased risk of heart disease, patients with lung diseases were less likely to receive heart treatments. Potential reasons include difficulties in diagnosis due to similar symptoms, and heart treatments having higher rates of complications in patients with lung diseases. Further work is required to understand this finding in more detail and how it could be addressed.“
Dr Chris Miller, senior author of the study from The University of Manchester said; “Research into why lung disease is associated with heart disease and the underlying disease mechanisms, is urgently required. If we could understand that, then we could potentially develop treatments that target these disease pathways.”