A research team from University of Nottingham has found that along with an increased risk of heart problems, patients with IPF were 23 percent more likely to have angina, had a 60 percent higher risk of stroke, and a three-fold increased risk of deep vein thrombosis.
"If you look at them over time, people with IPF have roughly a three-fold increased risk of acute coronary syndrome, which is a greater increase than you get from smoking," said Richard B. Hubbard, M.D., British Lung Foundation professor of epidemiology at the University of Nottingham and lead author of the study.
For the study, Hubbard and colleagues analysed the risk of cardiovascular disease in nearly 1,000 patients with IPF and more than 3,500 matched controls.
The researchers also found that those with IPF were more than twice as likely as control subjects to have been prescribed amiodarone, a medication used for irregular heartbeats that has also been implicated as a cause of fibrotic lung disease.
"Future investigations are required to better understand the relationship between IPF and systemic vascular disease as well as the mechanisms shared by the two syndromes," wrote David Zisman, M.D., and Steven Kawut, M.D., in an editorial in the same issue of the journal.
"[I]f a causal association were confirmed... the presence of IPF itself could constitute a sufficiently potent risk factor for coronary artery disease such that more aggressive goals in risk factor modification would be warranted," they added.