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Asthma ups risk of pulmonary embolism

Written by | 5 Feb 2013 | All Medical News

Asthma increases the risk of pulmonary embolism, researchers reported online on Dec. 20, 2012 in the European Respiratory Journal.

“Our findings suggest that people with severe asthma have an increased risk of pulmonary embolism and doctors should increase their awareness of the possibility of this occurrence in order to help prevent this serious event,” said lead author Christof Majoor, M.D., from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

While prior research had shown a relationship between chronic lung diseases and blood clots like deep vein thrombosis, the new study is first to examine specifically the relationship between asthma to pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.

The investigators evaluated data on 648 subjects with asthma, all in the Netherlands. Subjects ranged in age from 18 to 88 years.

The researchers studied each subject’s history of asthma and medicines used to control symptoms, as well as any history of diagnoses of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis.

They compared the data on these subjects to a control group without asthma.

They found that that people with severe asthma had a 9 times greater risk of developing pulmonary embolism, compared to the non-asthmatic control group. Also, subjects with mild-moderate asthma had a 3.5-times increased risk of developing pulmonary embolism.

“This is the first time a link has been found between asthma and pulmonary embolism, and we believe these results have important clinical implications,” added Dr. Majoor.

While the investigators found the strong association between asthma and pulmonary embolism, the study did not prove a cause and effect relationship. The study also identified oral corticosteroids as a possible risk factor for pulmonary embolism.

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