Aim: Cardiovascular disease (CV) is the second leading cause of morbidity and mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is associated with cardiovascular disease, and its risk factors are common to other atherosclerotic diseases. The objective is to determine the prevalence of PAD in a population of patients with COPD using the ankle / brachial index (ABI) and to investigate the relationship between PAD and lung disease severity.
Methods: In a prospective cross-sectional study, 246 patients with COPD were recruited. Patients were enrolled consecutively according to their admission to Povisa hospital from September 1, 2008, until March 1, 2010, and were assessed by clinical history, spirometry and ABI. The COPD severity was graded by GOLD criteria in spirometry.
Results: Overall, 84 patients (36.8%) had abnormal ABI results and 59 (70.2%) were asymptomatic for PAD. COPD patients with PAD had a higher prevalence of moderate to severe COPD (61.9% vs. 41.7%, P=0.004), lower mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) values (46.7% ± 15 vs. 52.3±14%, P=0.001) and a higher prevalence of hypertension (69% vs. 54.3%, P=0.03) and previous cardiovascular disease (34.5% vs. 21.3%, P=0.03).
Conclusion: There was a high prevalence of asymptomatic PAD in the COPD patients we examined. Abnormal ABI results were associated with a higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and more severe lung disease. The diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease in COPD is important because this is an entity that limits the patient's physical activity and impairs their quality of life in addition to turn it into a high cardiovascular risk patient that requiring additional therapeutic measures.