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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2016 Dec 1;194(11):1319-1336.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Cardiac Diseases. An Urgent Need for Integrated Care.

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1 Department of Metabolic Medicine, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and Sant'Agostino Estense Hospital, Modena, Italy.
2 Division of Respirology and.
3 Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Centre for Heart Lung Innovation, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and.
4 Thorax Institute, Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a global health issue with high social and economic costs. Concomitant chronic cardiac disorders are frequent in patients with COPD, likely owing to shared risk factors (e.g., aging, cigarette smoke, inactivity, persistent low-grade pulmonary and systemic inflammation) and add to the overall morbidity and mortality of patients with COPD. The prevalence and incidence of cardiac comorbidities are higher in patients with COPD than in matched control subjects, although estimates of prevalence vary widely. Furthermore, cardiac diseases contribute to disease severity in patients with COPD, being a common cause of hospitalization and a frequent cause of death. The differential diagnosis may be challenging, especially in older and smoking subjects complaining of unspecific symptoms, such as dyspnea and fatigue. The therapeutic management of patients with cardiac and pulmonary comorbidities may be similarly challenging: bronchodilators may have cardiac side effects, and, vice versa, some cardiac medications should be used with caution in patients with lung disease. The aim of this review is to summarize the evidence of the relationship between COPD and the three most frequent and important cardiac comorbidities in patients with COPD: ischemic heart disease, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation. We have chosen a practical approach, first summarizing relevant epidemiological and clinical data, then discussing the diagnostic and screening procedures, and finally evaluating the impact of lung-heart comorbidities on the therapeutic management of patients with COPD and heart diseases.


aging; comorbidities; dyspnea; metabolic syndrome; smoking

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