Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have a higher risk of suffering heart failure, according to a new study from the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. The research compared healthy individuals to patients with the disease and concluded that the risks are highest among African-American patients with COPD.
The study results were presented at the ATS 2014 International Conference and included data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey. Investigators searched the collected data for the frequency and impact of heart failure on hospitalizations for patients who were already diagnosed with COPD.
“The relationship between COPD and coronary heart disease has been well studied, but substantially less information exists concerning the coexistence of COPD and heart failure,” explained lead author Srinadh Annangi, MBBS.
As a chronic condition, COPD is already known to increase the risk of high blood pressure, respiratory infections, lung cancer, and depression, but now researchers have found that 28.7 percent of COPD patients suffer heart failure as well. In non-COPD study subjects, known as the “background population” of the study, the number decreases to only 13 percent, thus revealing a wide margin of increased heart failure rick among the COPD patient population.
The study went on to reveal that patients with both COPD and heart failure on average stay longer during hospitalizations, have higher in-hospital mortality rates, and are more often discharged to long-term care facilities than patients who only suffer from the pulmonary condition.
“The co-existence of COPD and heart failure, which share common symptoms, may pose diagnostic and therapeutic challenges,” said study corresponding author Marilyn G. Foreman, M.D., M.S. “The long-term effect of both diagnoses over time remains to be determined.”
The researcher also noted that the prevalence of COPD is gaining traction in individuals in low socioeconomic demographics, which increases the impact of simultaneous co-morbid diagnoses, such as heart failure, over decades of life, and could pose substantial fiscal, therapeutic, and social challenges.
In the study, researchers reviewed 386,186,183 hospital discharge records between the years of 2001 and 2010 and identified 33,338,505 cases of patients who were 40 years old or older and diagnosed with COPD. In addition to the generalized conclusions, the results were also stratified by race and age.
African-Americans are the racial group in which both COPD and heart failure were most significant (35.1%), compared to only a 15.2% incidence in the non-COPD African American population. 28.3% of European-Americans with COPD suffered heart failure, while only 12.9% of the non-COPD population suffered from it.
With regard to age, the most affected ago group was of patients 80 years old or older (38.6%, compared to 24.4% in non-COPD patients). Among patients between the ages of 60 to 79, 27% suffered both COPD and heart failure, while 13.6% experienced only heart disease. Between 40 and 59 years old, 18% of COPD patients suffered heart failure as well, compared to 5.4% of heart failure in patients with the chronic condition.