Lung function and risk for heart failure among older adults: the Health ABC Study

Am J Med. 2011 Apr;124(4):334-41. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2010.12.006.


Background: The impact of abnormal spirometric findings on risk for incident heart failure among older adults without clinically apparent lung disease is not well elucidated.

Methods: We evaluated the association of baseline lung function with incident heart failure, defined as first hospitalization for heart failure, in 2125 participants of the community-based Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study (age, 73.6 ± 2.9 years; 50.5% men; 62.3% white; 37.7% black) without prevalent lung disease or heart failure. Abnormal lung function was defined either as forced vital capacity (FVC) or forced expiratory volume in 1(st) second (FEV(1)) to FVC ratio below lower limit of normal. Percent predicted FVC and FEV(1) also were assessed as continuous variables.

Results: During follow-up (median, 9.4 years), heart failure developed in 68 of 350 (19.4%) participants with abnormal baseline lung function, as compared with 172 of 1775 (9.7%) participants with normal lung function (hazard ratio [HR] 2.31; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.74-3.07; P <.001). This increased risk persisted after adjusting for previously identified heart failure risk factors in the Health ABC Study, body mass index, incident coronary heart disease, and inflammatory markers (HR 1.83; 95% CI, 1.33-2.50; P <.001). Percent predicted (%) FVC and FEV(1) had a linear association with heart failure risk (HR 1.21; 95% CI, 1.11-1.32 and 1.18; 95% CI, 1.10-1.26, per 10% lower %FVC and %FEV(1), respectively; both P <.001 in fully adjusted models). Findings were consistent in sex and race subgroups and for heart failure with preserved or reduced ejection fraction.

Conclusions: Abnormal spirometric findings in older adults without clinical lung disease are associated with increased heart failure risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Lung Diseases / complications*
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Racial Groups
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Biomarkers