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      Co-existence of COPD and bronchiectasis: a risk factor for a high ratio of main pulmonary artery to aorta diameter (PA:A) from computed tomography in COPD patients

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          Pulmonary vascular disease, especially pulmonary hypertension, is an important complication of COPD. Bronchiectasis is considered not only a comorbidity of COPD, but also a risk factor for vascular diseases. The main pulmonary artery to aorta diameter ratio (PA:A ratio) has been found to be a reliable indicator of pulmonary vascular disease. It is hypothesized that the co-existence of COPD and bronchiectasis may be associated with relative pulmonary artery enlargement (PA:A ratio >1).


          This retrospective study enrolled COPD patients from 2012 through 2016. Demographic and clinical data were collected. Bhalla score was used to determine the severity of bronchiectasis. Patient characteristics were analyzed in two ways: the high (PA:A >1) and low (PA:A ≤1) ratio groups; and COPD with and without bronchiectasis groups. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess risk factors for high PA:A ratios.


          In this study, 480 COPD patients were included, of whom 168 had radiographic bronchiectasis. Patients with pulmonary artery enlargement presented with poorer nutrition (albumin, 35.6±5.1 vs 38.3±4.9, P<0.001), lower oxygen partial pressure (74.4±34.5 vs 81.3±25.4, P<0.001), more severe airflow obstruction (FEV1.0, 0.9±0.5 vs 1.1±0.6, P=0.004), and a higher frequency of bronchiectasis (60% vs 28.8%, P<0.001) than patients in the low ratio group. Patients with both COPD and bronchiectasis had higher levels of systemic inflammation (erythrocyte sedimentation rate, P<0.001 and fibrinogen, P=0.006) and PA:A ratios ( P<0.001). A higher PA:A ratio was significantly closely correlated with a higher Bhalla score (r=0.412, P<0.001). Patients with both COPD and bronchiectasis with high ratios presented higher levels of NT-proBNP ( P<0.001) and systolic pulmonary artery pressure ( P<0.001). Multiple logistic analyses have indicated that bronchiectasis is an independent risk factor for high PA:A ratios in COPD patients (OR =3.707; 95% CI =1.888–7.278; P<0.001).


          Bronchiectasis in COPD has been demonstrated to be independently associated with relative pulmonary artery enlargement.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Pulmonary hypertension in COPD.

          Mild-to-moderate pulmonary hypertension is a common complication of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); such a complication is associated with increased risks of exacerbation and decreased survival. Pulmonary hypertension usually worsens during exercise, sleep and exacerbation. Pulmonary vascular remodelling in COPD is the main cause of increase in pulmonary artery pressure and is thought to result from the combined effects of hypoxia, inflammation and loss of capillaries in severe emphysema. A small proportion of COPD patients may present with "out-of-proportion" pulmonary hypertension, defined by a mean pulmonary artery pressure >35-40 mmHg (normal is no more than 20 mmHg) and a relatively preserved lung function (with low to normal arterial carbon dioxide tension) that cannot explain prominent dyspnoea and fatigue. The prevalence of out-of-proportion pulmonary hypertension in COPD is estimated to be very close to the prevalence of idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. Cor pulmonale, defined as right ventricular hypertrophy and dilatation secondary to pulmonary hypertension caused by respiratory disorders, is common. More studies are needed to define the contribution of cor pulmonale to decreased exercise capacity in COPD. These studies should include improved imaging techniques and biomarkers, such as the B-type natriuretic peptide and exercise testing protocols with gas exchange measurements. The effects of drugs used in pulmonary arterial hypertension should be tested in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients with severe pulmonary hypertension. In the meantime, the treatment of cor pulmonale in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease continues to rest on supplemental oxygen and a variety of measures aimed at the relief of airway obstruction.
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            Pulmonary hemodynamics in advanced COPD candidates for lung volume reduction surgery or lung transplantation.

            To assess the pulmonary hemodynamic characteristics in COPD candidates for lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) or lung transplantation (LT). Retrospective study. One center in France. Two hundred fifteen patients with severe COPD who underwent right-heart catheterization before LVRS or LT. Mean age was 54.6 years. Pulmonary function test results were as follows: FEV(1), 24.3% predicted; total lung capacity, 128.3% predicted; residual volume, 259.7% predicted. Mean pulmonary artery pressure (PAPm) was 26.9 mm Hg. Pulmonary hypertension (PAPm > 25 mm Hg) was present in 50.2% and was moderate (PAPm, 35 to 45 mm Hg) or severe (PAPm > 45 mm Hg) in 9.8% and in 3.7% of patients, respectively. Cardiac index was low normal. PAPm was related to Pao(2) and alveolar-arterial oxygen gradient in multivariate analysis. Cluster analysis identified a subgroup of atypical patients (n = 16, 7.4%) characterized by moderate impairment of the pulmonary mechanics (mean FEV(1), 48.5%) contrasting with high level of pulmonary artery pressure (PAPm, 39.8 mm Hg), and severe hypoxemia (mean Pao(2), 46.2 mm Hg). While pulmonary hypertension is observed in half of the COPD patients with advanced disease, moderate-to-severe pulmonary hypertension is not a rare event in these patients. We individualized a subgroup of patients presenting with a predominant vascular disease that could potentially benefit from vasodilators.
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              Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and comorbidities.

              Results of epidemiological studies have shown that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is frequently associated with comorbidities, the most serious and prevalent being cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, and cachexia. Mechanistically, environmental risk factors such as smoking, unhealthy diet, exacerbations, and physical inactivity or inherent factors such as genetic background and ageing contribute to this association. No convincing evidence has been provided to suggest that treatment of COPD would reduce comorbidities, although some indirect indications are available. Clear evidence that treatment of comorbidities improves COPD is also lacking, although observational studies would suggest such an effect for statins, β blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme blockers and receptor antagonists. Large-scale prospective studies are needed. Reduction of common risk factors seems to be the most powerful approach to reduce comorbidities. Whether reduction of so-called spill-over of local inflammation from the lungs or systemic inflammation with inhaled or systemic anti-inflammatory drugs, respectively, would also reduce COPD-related comorbidities is doubtful. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                26 February 2018
                : 13
                : 675-681
                [1 ]Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Jinan, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Pulmonary Disease, Jinan Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, Jinan, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Wei Xiao Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, 107 Wenhua West Road, Jinan 250012, People’s Republic of China, Email xiaowei4226@
                © 2018 Dou et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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