Many COPD Comorbidities Independently Tied to Mortality

Twelve comorbidities include cancers and cardiovascular problems

FRIDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Twelve comorbidities that include cancer and cardiovascular problems are associated with a higher risk of death in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study published online May 3 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Miguel Divo, M.D., from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the association of 79 comorbidities with mortality risk in 1,664 patients with COPD over a median follow-up of 51 months.

The researchers found that 12 comorbidities were associated with an increased risk of death, including several types of cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, cardiovascular problems, ulcers, liver cirrhosis, diabetes with neuropathy, and anxiety. The information was used to develop a COPD comorbidity index (COTE). Increases in the COTE were associated with a significantly increased risk of death from COPD-related (hazard ratio, 1.13; P < 0.001) and non COPD-related (hazard ratio, 1.18; P < 0.001) causes, and the COTE was independent of the validated BODE (body mass index; FEV1; dyspnea and exercise capacity) index.

"In summary, we have confirmed that patients with COPD are frequently afflicted by comorbidities," Divo and colleagues conclude. "A group of 12 easily identifiable ones confer an independent risk of death and could form the core of diseases that could be screened by health care providers caring for these patients since, for some of them, there are effective interventions that may help decrease the risk of death."

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