Association of Pulmonary Function With Late-Life Cardiac Function and Heart Failure Risk: The ARIC Study

J Am Heart Assoc. 2022 Jul 19;11(14):e023990. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.121.023990. Epub 2022 Jul 5.


Background Pulmonary and cardiac functions decline with age, but the associations of pulmonary dysfunction with cardiac function and heart failure (HF) risk in late life is not known. We aimed to determine the associations of percent predicted forced vital capacity (ppFVC) and the ratio of forced expired volume in 1 second (FEV1) to forced vital capacity (FVC; FEV1/FVC) with cardiac function and incident HF with preserved or reduced ejection fraction in late life. Methods and Results Among 3854 HF-free participants in the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) cohort study who underwent echocardiography and spirometry at the fifth study visit (2011-2013), associations of FEV1/FVC and ppFVC with echocardiographic measures, cardiac biomarkers, and risk of HF, HF with preserved ejection fraction, and HF with reduced ejection fraction were assessed. Multivariable linear and Cox regression models adjusted for demographics, body mass index, coronary disease, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, and diabetes. Mean age was 75±5 years, 40% were men, 19% were Black, and 61% were ever smokers. Mean FEV1/FVC was 72±8%, and ppFVC was 98±17%. In adjusted analyses, lower FEV1/FVC and ppFVC were associated with higher NT-proBNP (N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide; both P<0.001) and pulmonary artery pressure (P<0.004). Lower ppFVC was also associated with higher left ventricular mass, left ventricular filling pressure, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (all P<0.01). Lower FEV1/FVC was associated with a trend toward higher risk of incident HF with preserved ejection fraction (hazard ratio [HR] per 10-point decrease, 1.31; 95% CI, 0.98-1.74; P=0.07) and HF with reduced ejection fraction (HR per 10-point decrease, 1.24; 95% CI, 0.91-1.70; P=0.18), but these associations did not reach statistical significance. Lower ppFVC was associated with incident HF with preserved ejection fraction (HR per 10-unit decrease, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.04-1.41; P=0.013) but not with HF with reduced ejection fraction (HR per 10-unit decrease, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.76-1.07; P=0.24). Conclusions Subclinical reductions in FEV1/FVC and ppFVC differentially associate with cardiac function and HF risk in late life.

Keywords: cardiopulmonary; elderly; heart dysfunction; lung function; respiratory disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Failure* / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Male
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Function, Left
  • Vital Capacity