Diabetes, Heart and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.  Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Heart Diseases
 Article 317
    Published on March 31, 2018

Starting new long-acting inhaled bronchodilators tied to heart attack risk

A Taiwanese nested case-control study shows 50 percent (or 1.5 fold) enhanced risk to cardiovascular problems among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients within first 30 days with the usage of long-acting inhaled bronchodilators when compared with non-users. These enhanced risks are irrespective of patients exacerbations history and earlier cardiovascular condition.

But the absolute cardiovascular risk was still around one percent among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients using long-acting inhaled bronchodilators. Those enhanced cardiovascular risks will die over a period.

Researchers studied data of 284,220 COPD patients from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, aged at least 40 years with an average age of 71.4 years at the start of the study. Percentage of women participants was 31.1. These patients never used long-acting inhaled bronchodilators treatment. They started using long-acting bronchodilators, either beta-agonists (LABAs) family medicine or antimuscarinic antagonists (LAMAs) family medicine for the first time. Researchers have conducted follow-up studies for two years.

Follow-up study results show the development of severe heart problems such as arrhythmia, heart failure, coronary artery disease or ischemic stroke and need for emergency medical care in 37,719 COPD patients. Those patients average age was 75.6 years. About 71.6 percent of them were men.

The study also shows there was no difference in the quantum of cardiovascular disease risk with either beta-agonists or antimuscarinic antagonists type long-acting inhaled bronchodilators medicines or with the dosage.

The usage of long-acting inhaled bronchodilators is essential for the treatment of COPD. Long-acting inhaled bronchodilators drugs are designed to enlarge the airways in the lungs. These drugs reduce disease severity and improve lung functionality. But they may also affect cardiovascular health by increasing blood pressure and heartbeat, shrinking blood vessels and formation of blockages in blood vessels due to increased inflammation.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients should aware of the immediate cardiovascular health risk when they start using bronchodilators. A COPD patient should pay attention to the heart disease symptoms such as arrhythmias (palpitations, irregular heartbeat), difficulty in breathing or chest pain. The patient should undergo periodic check-ups for possible cardiovascular disease development after starting these inhalers. But the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patient should not avoid the inhaled bronchodilators drugs if it was prescribed by the doctor.

Arrhythmia, heart failure, coronary artery disease or ischemic stroke with the use of bronchodilators.

Lead author of the study was Dr. Meng-Ting Wang, PhD, an Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan. The study findings were published January 2, 2018, in the JAMA Internal Medicine. Title of the article was "Association of Cardiovascular Risk With Inhaled Long-Acting Bronchodilators in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. A Nested Case-Control Study." DOI : doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.7720

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COPD : Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease affecting mostly people aged more than 40 years. It is a third leading cause of death in the United States. This disease is caused due to the blockage of air flowing to lungs. This disease lasts for years as the damage to lungs due to disease cannot be reversed. Treatment can reduce disease symptoms, but the disease cannot be cured. Symptoms of COPD are.

  • A chronic cough.
  • Whistling sound while breathing.
  • Harder to breathe.
  • Tightness in the chest.
  • Mucus (sputum) production.

Smoking is the main cause of COPD. It can also be due to prolonged exposure to irritating substances or gases. Worsening of COPD can be prevented by reducing smoking and improving air quality. Untreated COPD condition will increase risks to heart diseases, lung cancer and respiratory infections.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease : Please see COPD.



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