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Could Asthma Increase Aortic Aneurysm Risk?

Patients who have asthma or have a history of taking anti-asthma medication are at a higher risk of developing or rupturing an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), according to new research.
Because both asthma and AAA involve inflammation, researchers wanted to better understand whether the diseases are connected or impact each other in any way.
To conduct their study, researchers analyzed data from the Danish National Registry of Patients (DNRP), which included 15,942 patients with ruptured AAA and matched healthy controls from 1996 to 2012, and the Viborg Vascular Trial (VVT), which included 18,749 men with and without AAA in 2010.
Researchers categorized patients based on hospital diagnosis, bronchodilator use, and history of anti-asthma medication use.
After analyzing the data, researchers found that patients in the DNRP group who were diagnosed with asthma within the previous year and had an AAA had a 50% higher risk of a ruptured AAA than those without asthma. Patients who used bronchodilators and anti-asthma medications also had an increased risk of a ruptured AAA.
In addition, patients in the VVT group who used anti-asthma medication were more likely to have an AAA than those who didn’t take medication.
“Recent active asthma increased risk of AAA and ruptured AAA,” researchers concluded. “These findings document and furnish novel links between airway disease and AAA, 2 common diseases that share inflammatory aspects.”
Liu CL, Wemmelund H, Wang Y, et al. Asthma associates with human abdominal aortic aneurysm and rupture. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. Published online before print February 11, 2016. doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.115.306497.