medwireNews: Data from Taiwan show that asthma is associated with a significant increase in the risk for pulmonary embolism (PE), particularly in patients who experience exacerbations.
The research team analyzed data on 31,402 asthma patients who were newly diagnosed between 2002 and 2008 and 125,228 individuals from the general population matched for age, gender, and index year.
They found that, after adjusting for confounders including thrombosis risk factors, the risk for PE was 3.24-fold greater in patients with asthma than those without, at respective rates of 10.20 and 3.09 per 100,000 person–years.
The increased risk among asthma patients was significant in all age groups but the incidence of PE increased with age, such that in those aged over 65 years, it was 30.90 versus 9.75 per 100,000 person–years in those with and without asthma, respectively.
And, the team reports that the risk for PE increased with the number of emergency room visits and hospital admissions for exacerbation. Asthma patients who had two or fewer visits had no increased risk compared with those in the non-asthmatic cohort whereas those who had four or more visits had a nine-fold increased risk for PE.
“This finding suggests poor control as an important factor for PE in asthmatic patients,” comment the authors, led by Chia-Hung Kao (China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan).
Several reports have shown an increased prevalence of PE among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and patients with asthma have also been shown to have elevated levels of coagulation factors.
However, only one previous study has addressed the association between asthma and PE, explain the authors.
Writing in the European Respiratory Journal, they conclude that their findings “highlight the importance of clinical awareness of potential PE development among asthmatic patients.”
medwireNews (www.medwirenews.com) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013
By Kirsty Oswald, medwireNews Reporter