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Cardiovascular disease in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a narrative review
  1. Vishanna Balbirsingh1,
  2. Andrea S Mohammed1,
  3. Alice M Turner2,
  4. Michael Newnham2
  1. 1 College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2 Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham College of Medical and Dental Sciences, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael Newnham, Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK; m.newnham{at}


Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and concomitant disease leads to reduced quality of life, increased hospitalisations and worse survival. Acute pulmonary exacerbations are an important contributor to COPD burden and are associated with increased cardiovascular (CV) events. Both COPD and CVD represent a significant global disease impact and understanding the relationship between the two could potentially reduce this burden. The association between CVD and COPD could be a consequence of (1) shared risk factors (environmental and/or genetic) (2) shared pathophysiological pathways (3) coassociation from a high prevalence of both diseases (4) adverse effects (including pulmonary exacerbations) of COPD contributing to CVD and (5) CVD medications potentially worsening COPD and vice versa. CV risk in COPD has traditionally been associated with increasing disease severity, but there are other relevant COPD subtype associations including radiological subtypes, those with frequent pulmonary exacerbations and novel disease clusters. While the prevalence of CVD is high in COPD populations, it may be underdiagnosed, and improved risk prediction, diagnosis and treatment optimisation could lead to improved outcomes. This state-of-the-art review will explore the incidence/prevalence, COPD subtype associations, shared pathophysiology and genetics, risk prediction, and treatment of CVD in COPD.

  • COPD epidemiology
  • COPD exacerbations
  • COPD pathology
  • COPD pharmacology

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  • Contributors VB and ASM undertook the literature search, cowrote the first draft and prepared the final draft. MN conceived the idea for the manuscript, cowrote the first draft and prepared the final draft. AMT edited the first and final drafts. All authors approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests AMT reports research grants from AstraZeneca and Chiesi, personal fees from GSK, Boehringer, CSL Behring, AstraZeneca and Chiesi.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.