People suffering from COPD have an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD), according to new research published online in the European Heart Journal.

When compared with people of the same age and sex who do not have the disease, those with COPD have a 34% increased risk of SCD overall, but their risk almost doubles more than five years after first being diagnosed with COPD. In COPD patients who have frequent exacerbations (sudden worsening of their symptoms, such as shortness of breath and cough), the risk of SCD increases more than three-fold after five years.