Patients With COPD Have Stiffer Arteries, Study Finds

A retrospective study found that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) had stiffer arteries compared with patients without COPD.

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) had stiffer arteries compared with a control group, according to a study published in Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira. The aim of the study was to compare the arterial stiffness in patients with COPD with healthy people to find the correlation between COPD and arterial stiffness, which could provide better clinical prediction of COPD.

There were 83 patients with COPD who were hospitalized between August 2017 and August 2019 who were included in this study. Patients were excluded if they had hematological disease or malignant tumors; had an autoimmune disease, diabetes, hypertension, or coronary heart disease; had severe liver or kidney dysfunction; or had hyperlipidemia or hyperuricemia. There were 80 patients who were selected for the control group as well.

The COPD group had 46 men and 37 women participating with a mean (SD) age of 61.34 (2.91) years and mean body mass index (BMI) of 22.41 (2.15) kg/m2. The control group featured 41 men and 39 women with an average age of 61.87 (3.04) years and BMI of 22.32 (2.31) m2.

The mean resistance index (RI) and pulsatility index (PI) levels were lower in the COPD group compared with the control group (0.62 [0.14] vs 0.81 [0.22]; 2.61[0.38] vs 2.95 [0.36] respectively). The mean intima-media thickness (IMT) level (1.36 [0.13] vs 0.94 [0.10]), total plaque area (19.75 [2.19] vs 5.84 [1.32]), and plaque numbers (1.67 [0.64] vs 0.82 [0.30]) were higher in the COPD group than in the control group. Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) and ankle-brachial blood pressure index (ABI) in the COPD group were higher as well.

In the correlation analysis the levels of baPWV and ABI were inversely correlated with RI and PI in patients with COPD but were positively correlated with IMT, total plaque area, and plaque numbers.

There were some limitations to this study. The study was conducted in a single center and retrospectively so the conclusions will need to be further tested in clinical studies with larger sample sizes. All of the information on the patients could not be collected so a logistic regression analysis could not be conducted.

The researchers concluded that arterial stiffness in patients with COPD was higher compared with patients without COPD. The researchers noted that ultrasonic index could be used as an auxiliary detection method for stiffness in arteries to improve accuracy of predictionof carotid artery lesions and guide treatment in the future.


Zhang XH, Zhang ST, Huang QL, Liu YQ, Chang JN, Liu P. Comparison of arterial stiffness and ultrasound indices in patients with and without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Rev Assoc Med Bras. 2022;68(5):605-609. doi:10.1590/1806-9282.2021203