People with bronchiectasis are at a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke compared to the general population, according to a study published in the scientific journal Thorax. These results underscore the importance of providing a more integrated approach in the care and management of bronchiectasis patients.
In the study “Bronchiectasis and the risk of cardiovascular disease: a population-based study,” a team of researchers led by Dr. Jennifer Quint from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and clinical senior lecturer at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London analyzed the primary care electronic records of nearly four million people over the age of 18 who contributed to the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD).
The CPRD is an anonymous primary care database from 625 general practices throughout the United Kingdom. The database provides information for public health research collected during routine care, face-to-face consultations, and following communication from secondary care.
The team of researchers used this database to assess the association between bronchiectasis and recorded diagnoses of coronary heart disease or stroke. The analysis was done after adjusting the results for age, sex, smoking habits, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Results showed that a pre-existing diagnosis of coronary heart disease and stroke were higher in people with bronchiectasis compared to those without the disease. Moreover, the rate of a first coronary heart disease and stroke were higher in people with bronchiectasis. This increased risk of cardiovascular disease among people with bronchiectasis was not attributable to smoking or other established cardiovascular risk factors or other diseases associated with bronchiectasis.
Based on these findings, researchers concluded that bronchiectasis might be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
“This is the largest population-based study to quantify the association between bronchiectasis and cardiovascular disease, which needs to be highlighted to physicians in order to provide a holistic approach to the care of these patients, and health service pathways can be integrated to include management of these comorbidities,” the researchers wrote in their report.
In the U.K., it is estimated that there are more than 300,000 people living with bronchiectasis, and 20,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Almost 1,000 people die every year from bronchiectasis, according to estimates.