A number of comorbidities commonly associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are independently associated with a higher likelihood of death. That is according to “Comorbidities and Risk of Mortality in Patients with COPD,” a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine on May 3.
A key cause of morbidity and mortality, COPD is commonly accompanied by comorbidities such as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. However, little research has been completed on the prognostic value of capturing the effects of these comorbidities in patients with COPD.
As part of the study, researchers followed 1,664 patients with COPD for a median of 51 months. During that time, 79 comorbidities were recorded. Mortality risk was then calculated and a COPD comorbidity index (COTE) was constructed based on the comorbidities that increase mortality risk using a multivariate analysis.
Of these comorbidities, 12 were associated with increased risk of death. These include cancers of the lung, pancreas, esophagus and breast, followed by pulmonary fibrosis, atrial fibrillation/flutter, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, gastric/duodenal ulcers, liver cirrhosis, diabetes with neuropathy and anxiety.
“These easily identifiable comorbidities could be screened by healthcare providers caring for COPD patients, as there may be effective interventions that may help decrease the risk of death,” said lead author Miguel Divo, MD, a physician in the Pulmonary and Critical Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, said in an American Thoracic Society news release.
Authors note that these findings raise the possibility of a close interaction among these diseases that may share common biological pathways.