HealthDay News — Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with increased risk of all stroke, ischemic stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke, according to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The results also indicated that smoking is a shared risk factor for both conditions.

Marileen L.P. Portegies, MD, from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues examined the correlation between COPD and subtypes of stroke in the general population. A total of 13,115 participants within the prospective population-based Rotterdam Study were followed for occurrence of stroke.

The researchers found that COPD was significantly associated with all stroke (hazard ratio [HR], 1.20; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.00 to 1.43), ischemic stroke (HR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.59), and hemorrhagic stroke (HR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.01 to 2.84), after adjustment for age, age², and sex. Similar effect sizes were seen after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors. Additional adjustment for smoking attenuated the effect sizes for all stroke (HR, 1.09; 95% CI, 0.91 to 1.31), ischemic stroke (HR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.91 to 1.42), and hemorrhagic stroke (HR, 1.53; 95% CI, 0.91 to 2.59).

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“Our cohort study demonstrated a higher risk of both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke in subjects with COPD, and revealed the importance of smoking as a shared risk factor,” the authors write.


  1. Portegies MLP et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2015; doi:10.1164/rccm.201505-0962OC.