Aspergillus fumigatus may increase the risk of developing bronchiectasis in COPD patients, according to researchers publishing in International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

The team at University Hospitals Leuven and KU Leuven reported that antibodies against the common mold Aspergillus fumigatus were much more common in COPD patients than in healthy people. They also reported a connection between the mold and bronchiectasis.

More COPD patients than controls had antibodies indicating they had had allergic reactions to A. fumigatus. In fact, 18% of the COPD patients had the antibodies, versus 4% of the controls. The proportion of people with bronchiectasis was also higher among COPD patients than among controls.