Progressive Lung Disease Linked to Heart Trouble

Pulmonary fibrosis patients 4 times likelier to have artery disease

FRIDAY, March 12, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- People with pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive lung disease, are four times more likely to have extensive coronary artery disease than other people.

So says a study in the March 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and University of Pennsylvania study, the first of its kind, may help scientists better understand both diseases and the role of inflammation, and could result in the development of new treatments.

"We were surprised by the large number of pulmonary fibrosis patients who had also developed advanced coronary artery disease," senior author Dr. David A. Zisman, director of the interstitial lung disease program and assistant professor of the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, says in a prepared statement.

Pulmonary fibrosis and coronary artery disease both cause inflammation that results in scarring and/or plaque development. This study adds to the growing amount of research focusing on the impact of inflammation throughout the body.

"Inflammation plays a key role in so many diseases, from Alzheimer's disease and heart disease to cancers, as well as pulmonary fibrosis. The more we learn about the interaction of such diseases, the better we will be able to direct treatments," Zisman says.

In this study, Zisman and his colleagues reviewed coronary angiograms of 630 people being evaluated for a lung transplant. People with pulmonary fibrosis had a two times greater risk of having coronary artery disease and a four times greater risk of having extensive coronary artery disease.

Pulmonary fibrosis, which affects about 5 million people worldwide and 100,000 in the United States, causes inflammation and scarring of the lungs. Most people with pulmonary fibrosis are eventually referred for a lung transplant.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about pulmonary fibrosis.

SOURCE: UCLA, news release, March 2004
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