A Case of Ventricular Fibrillation in a Frail Patient with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome, and Electrolytic Disorder

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Abstract

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with an increased cardiovascular risk, although the pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for this interdependence are not completely known. For instance, the increased sympathetic activity may be implied. The severity of COPD correlates with various arrhythmic manifestations such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and either sustained or nonsustained ventricular tachycardia. COPD and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome may increase the overall cardiovascular risk, especially in elderly patients. Additionally, electrolytic disorders may precipitate cardiac rhythm disturbances and thus cause important arrhythmic consequences such as ventricular fibrillation, as reported in our clinical case. We discuss here the possible treatment of this association of pathological conditions on the basis of a single case we have successfully treated, and provide a brief review of the available literature regarding cardiovascular comorbidities in COPD patients.

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