Lung function and airway obstruction: associations with circulating markers of cardiac function and incident heart failure in older men—the British Regional Heart Study

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The association between lung function and cardiac markers and heart failure (HF) has been little studied in the general older population. We have examined the association between lung function and airway obstruction with cardiac markers N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and cardiac troponin T (cTnT) and risk of incident HF in older men.

Methods and results

Prospective study of 3242 men aged 60-79□years without prevalent HF or myocardial infarction followed up for an average period of 13□years, in whom 211 incident HF cases occurred. Incident HF was examined in relation to % predicted FEV1 and FVC. The Global Initiative on Obstructive Lung Diseases spirometry criteria were used to define airway obstruction. Reduced FEV1, but not FVC in the normal range, was significantly associated with increased risk of HF after adjustment for established HF risk factors including inflammation. The adjusted HRs comparing men in the 6-24th percentile with the highest quartile were 1.91 (1.24 to 2.94) and 1.30 (0.86 to 1.96) for FEV1 and FVC, respectively. FEV1 and FVC were inversely associated with NT-proBNP and cTnT, although the association between FEV1 and incident HF remained after adjustment for NT-proBNP and cTnT. Compared with normal subjects (FEV1/FVC ≥0.70 and FVC≥80%), moderate or severe (FEV1/FVC <0.70 and FEV1 <80%) airflow obstruction was independently associated with HF ((adjusted relative risk 1.59 (1.08 to 2.33)). Airflow restriction (FEV1/FVC ≥0.70 and FVC <80%) was not independently associated with HF.


Reduced FEV1 reflecting airflow obstruction is associated with cardiac dysfunction and increased risk of incident HF in older men.

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