Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and coronary artery disease (CAD) are global epidemics that incur significant morbidity and mortality. These diseases are frequently found in combination, and they can also be found independent of the common causal factors, primarily smoking. Both conditions are systemic disorders with overlapping mechanisms and pathophysiologic processes. CAD has a strong effect on the severity and prognosis of COPD and vice versa, including acute exacerbations. Even the most recent practical clinical recommendations driven by Clinical Practice Guidelines still focus on one disease at a time, and do not provide advice for the management of patients with associated chronic conditions. COPD should be approached in a more comprehensive manner, including the treatment of cardiac comorbidities, particularly CAD. To focus treatment on these comorbidities might modify the natural course of the disease in patients with COPD who may not find relief from treatment of COPD alone.
© 2011 The Authors. Respirology © 2011 Asian Pacific Society of Respirology.