From the Journals

Declining lung function linked to heart failure, stroke

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Opportunity for collaboration between specialties

Cardiologists and pulmonologists should closely collaborate to better identify the relationship between lung function decline and early cardiovascular disease detection, said the authors of an editorial accompanying the study.

Improved collaboration would help manage these conditions, stopping early disease progression and preventing overt cardiovascular disease, wrote Daniel A. Duprez, MD, PhD, and David R. Jacobs Jr., PhD.

“The resulting symptomatic and prognostic benefits outweigh those attainable by treating either condition alone,” noted Dr. Duprez and Dr. Jacobs.

The study by Dr. Silvestre and coauthors showed that rapid declines in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) among participants in the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study were associated with a higher incidence of composite cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and total death.

The association between FEV1 and new heart failure was substantially impacted by 22 heart failure events occurring in the first year, with a hazard ratio of 4.22 for predicting those cases, the editorial authors noted.

“We suggest that this association with early cases could be the result of reversed causality, reflecting heart failure undiagnosed at the second spirometry test,” they explained (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018 Sep 4;72[10]:1123-5).

Dr. Duprez is with the cardiovascular division of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and Dr. Jacobs is with the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Dr. Duprez and Dr. Jacobs reported they had no relevant disclosures.



Rapid declines in spirometric measures of lung function were associated with higher risks of cardiovascular disease, according to a recent analysis of a large, prospective cohort study.

Rapid declines in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) were associated with increased incidence of heart failure, stroke, and death in the analysis of the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study.

The risk of incident heart failure among FEV1 rapid decliners was particularly high, with a fourfold increase within 12 months. That suggests clinicians should carefully consider incipient heart failure in patients with rapid changes in FEV1, investigators reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Rapid declines in forced vital capacity (FVC) were also associated with higher incidences of heart failure and death in the analysis by Odilson M. Silvestre, MD, of the division of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, and colleagues.

The analysis included a total of 10,351 ARIC participants with a mean follow-up of 17 years. All had undergone spirometry at the first study visit between 1987 and 1989, and on the second visit between 1990 and 1992.

One-quarter of participants were classified as FEV1 rapid decliners, defined by an FEV1 decrease of at least 1.9% per year. Likewise, one-quarter of participants were classified as FVC rapid decliners, based on an FVC decrease of at least 2.1%.

Rapid decline in FEV1 was associated with a higher risk of incident heart failure (hazard ratio, 1.17; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-1.33; P = .010), and was most prognostic in the first year of follow-up (HR, 4.22; 95% CI, 1.34-13.26; P = .01), investigators said.

Rapid decline in FVC was likewise associated with a greater heart failure risk (HR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.12-1.44; P less than .001).

Increased heart failure risk persisted after excluding patients with incident coronary heart disease in both the FEV1 and FVC rapid decliners, the investigators said.

A rapid decline in FEV1 was also associated with a higher stroke risk (HR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.04-1.50; P = .015).

FEV1 rapid decliners had a higher overall rate of incident cardiovascular disease than those without rapid decline, even after adjustment for baseline variables such as age, sex, race, body mass index, and heart rate (HR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.04-1.26; P = .004), and FVC rapid decliners likewise had a 19% greater risk of the composite endpoint (HR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.08-1.32; P less than .001).

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Heart Association, and other sources supported the study. Dr. Silvestre reported having no relevant conflicts.

SOURCE: Silvestre OM et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018 Sep 4;72(10):1109-22.

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