Chinese researchers have found an association between bronchiectasis and an artery condition that can lead to heart problems.

The findings highlight the importance of early screening for blood vessel changes, the researchers said. The screening can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, they said. Some studies have already reported that bronchiectasis increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. One, in fact, found that a quarter of bronchiectasis patients die of a heart or blood-vessel-related condition. But scientists know little about the mechanisms that lead to bronchiectasis patients developing a cardiovascular disorder.

An artery condition called endothelial dysfunction could be one mechanism. Endothelial dysfunction is the improper workings of the inner lining of small arteries, or endothelial layer.