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COPD Exacerbations May Raise Risk of Cardiovascular Events

Last Updated: May 11, 2010.

Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease appear to increase the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke, according to research published in the May issue of Chest.

TUESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) appear to increase the risk of myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke, according to research published in the May issue of Chest.

Gavin C. Donaldson, Ph.D., of University College London, and colleagues analyzed data from 25,857 patients with COPD. They defined exacerbations using a health care use definition of prescription of oral corticosteroids greater than 20 mg/d and/or selected oral antibiotics.

The researchers observed 524 MIs in 426 patients, as well as 633 ischemic strokes in 482 patients. The risk of MI increased 2.27-fold one to five days after exacerbation (P=.03), though this risk diminished over time and was not significantly different from the baseline MI risk at other post-exacerbation time intervals. In addition, the researchers found that there was a 1.26-fold increased risk of stroke one to 49 days after exacerbation (P=.05).

"The results suggest that exacerbations of COPD increase the risk of MI and stroke. This may have implications for therapy in both stable and exacerbated COPD," the authors write.

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