A study finds that pulmonary artery enlargement during hospitalization for COPD is linked to greater cardiac injury and worse clinical outcomes.

When pulmonary artery to aorta (PA/A) ratio was measured by computed tomography (CT) during hospitalization for acute exacerbation of COPD, a PA/A ratio of greater than 1 predicted more severe hospital course and cardiac injury.

The findings suggest that PA/A measurement on CT could represent a meaningful prognostic biomarker for both acute and stable COPD, J. Michael Wells, MD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues wrote in CHEST.

Their study is the first to longitudinally examine the PA/A ratio and evaluate it in the setting of severe acute COPD exacerbation.

“We found that peripheral artery enlargement is acutely increased during hospitalizations for acute exacerbations of COPD and is associated with increased markers of cardiac injury and trends toward worsened clinical outcomes,” they wrote. “These findings highlight the mechanistic plausibility for the PA/A ratio to be used as a biomarker for both acute and stable disease.”

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