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      Long QT and death in hospitalized patients with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is not related to electrolyte disorders

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          Objectives: COPD is the fourth-leading cause of mortality worldwide. Prolonged QTc has been found to be a long-term negative prognostic factor in ambulatory COPD patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the extent of prolonged-QTc syndrome in COPD patients upon admission to an internal medicine department, its relationship to hypomagnesemia, hypokalemia, and hypocalcemia, and the effect of COPD treatment on mortality during hospital stay.

          Methods: This prospective cohort study evaluated COPD patients hospitalized in an internal medicine department. The study evaluated QTc, electrolyte levels, and known risk factors during hospitalization of COPD patients.

          Results: A total of 67 patients were recruited. The median QTc interval was 0.441 seconds and 0.434 seconds on days 0 and 3, respectively. Prolonged QTc was noted in 35.8% of patients on admission and 37.3% on day 3 of hospitalization. The median QTc in the prolonged-QTc group on admission was 0.471 seconds and in the normal-QTc group 0.430 seconds. There was no significant difference in age, sex, electrolyte levels, renal function tests, or blood gases on admission between the two groups. Mortality during the hospital stay was significantly higher in the prolonged-QTc group (3 deaths, 12%) than in the normal QTc group (no deaths) ( P=0.04). A subanalysis was performed, removing known causes for prolonged QTc. We found no differences in age, electrolytes, or renal functions. There was a small but significant difference in bicarbonate levels.

          Conclusion: Our findings demonstrated that there was no correlation between QTc prolongation in hospitalized COPD patients and electrolyte levels, comorbidities, or relevant medications. A higher rate of mortality was noted in patients with prolonged QTc in comparison to normal QTc. As such, it is suggested that prolonged QTc could serve as a negative prognostic factor for mortality during hospitalization in COPD patients.

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          Most cited references 35

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          Renal control of calcium, phosphate, and magnesium homeostasis.

          Calcium, phosphate, and magnesium are multivalent cations that are important for many biologic and cellular functions. The kidneys play a central role in the homeostasis of these ions. Gastrointestinal absorption is balanced by renal excretion. When body stores of these ions decline significantly, gastrointestinal absorption, bone resorption, and renal tubular reabsorption increase to normalize their levels. Renal regulation of these ions occurs through glomerular filtration and tubular reabsorption and/or secretion and is therefore an important determinant of plasma ion concentration. Under physiologic conditions, the whole body balance of calcium, phosphate, and magnesium is maintained by fine adjustments of urinary excretion to equal the net intake. This review discusses how calcium, phosphate, and magnesium are handled by the kidneys.
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            Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as a risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

            Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other disorders, associated with reduced lung function, are strong risk factors for cardiovascular events, independent of smoking. Overall, when the lowest quintile of lung function, as measured by FEV1 is compared with the highest quintile, the risk of cardiovascular mortality increases by approximately 75% in both men and women. Having symptoms of chronic bronchitis alone increases the risk of coronary deaths by 50%. Reduced ratio of FEV1 to FVC by itself is a modest independent risk factor for coronary events, increasing the risk by 30%. However, if patients have ventricular arrhythmias, the risk of coronary events is increased twofold, suggesting that the cardiotoxic effects of obstructive airways disease are amplified in those who have underlying cardiac rhythm disturbances. In general, for every 10% decrease in FEV1, all-cause mortality increases by 14%, cardiovascular mortality increases by 28%, and nonfatal coronary event increases by almost 20%. These data indicate that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a powerful, independent risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
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              Management and prevention of exacerbations of COPD.

               Shawn D Aaron (2014)
              Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are prone to acute respiratory exacerbations, which can develop suddenly or subacutely over the course of several days. Exacerbations have a detrimental effect on patients' health status and increase the burden on the healthcare system. Initial treatment is unsuccessful in 24-27% of patients, who have a relapse or a second exacerbation within 30 days of the initial event. No obvious benefit has been seen in recent clinical trials of anti-tumour necrosis factor therapy, anti-leukotriene therapy, intensive chest physiotherapy, or early inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation for treatment of exacerbations. By contrast, clinical trials of prevention rather than acute treatment have shown promising results. Long acting β agonist (LABA) or long acting anti-muscarinic (LAMA) bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroid-LABA combinations prevent exacerbations in patients at risk, with relative risk reductions averaging 14-27% for each of these drugs relative to placebo. Triple therapy with inhaled corticosteroid-LABA plus LAMA may provide additional benefit, although study results to date are heterogeneous and more studies are needed. Pneumonia is an important complication of treatment with inhaled corticosteroid-LABA products, and the risk of pneumonia seems to be doubled in patients with COPD who use fluticasone. The addition of azithromycin to usual COPD therapy prevents exacerbations, although it may prolong the Q-T interval and increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease in patients prone to arrhythmia. New potential drugs--including mitogen activated protein kinase inhibitors, phosphodiesterase 3 inhibitors, and monoclonal antibodies to the interleukin 1 receptor--offer additional hope for treatments that may prevent exacerbations in the future.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                20 May 2019
                : 14
                : 1053-1061
                [1 ]Internal Medicine Department A, Assaf-Harofeh Medical Center , Zerifin, Israel
                [2 ]School of Public Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University , Tel Aviv, Israel
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Shani Zilberman-ItskovichInternal Medicine Department A, Assaf-Harofeh Medical Center , Zerifin70300, IsraelTel +97 250 993 9947Fax +9 728 977 8359Email shani.zilberman@
                © 2019 Zilberman-Itskovich 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. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Tables: 4, References: 41, Pages: 9
                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                copd, qt prolongation, hypomagnesemia, hypokalemia, hypocalcemia


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