Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) are three times as likely to experience severe coronary eventsincluding heart attacksthan people without the disease, according to a recent study that analyzed the risk of cardiovascular disease in nearly 1,000 patients with IPF and more than 3,500 matched controls.
"If you look at them over time, people with IPF have roughly a three-fold increased risk of acute coronary syndrome, which is a greater increase than you get from smoking," said Richard B. Hubbard, M.D., British Lung Foundation professor of epidemiology at the University of Nottingham and lead author of the study.
The study was published in the second issue for December of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Dr. Hubbard and colleagues analyzed data from the computerized records of the UK's Health Improvement Network for 920 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and 3,593 control subjects without IPF for diagnoses of coronary events and disease incidence.
In addition to having a markedly increased risk of heart problems, patients with IPF were 23 percent more likely to have angina, had a 60 percent higher risk of stroke, and a three-fold increased risk of deep vein thrombosis, according to Dr. Hubbard.
Notably, those with IPF were more than twice as likely as control subjects to have been prescribed amiodarone, a medication used for irregular heartbeats that has also been implicated as a cause of fibrotic lung disease.
This research could have serious implications for the 60,000 people with IPF who currently live in the United States and the 21,000 people who receive this diagnosis for the first time each year. Median survival from the time of diagnosis is about three years, and there are currently no treatments that have been shown to increase survival.
Unfortunately, medical knowledge about IPF is limited. "We know
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American Thoracic Society