(HealthDay News) – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with an increased prevalence of cerebral microbleeds, particularly in deep or infratentorial locations, according to a study published online July 25 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

To examine whether COPD relates to the development and location of cerebral microbleeds, Lies Lahousse, PhD, PharmD, from Ghent University Hospital in Belgium, and colleagues analyzed data from participants in the Rotterdam study, a prospective population-based cohort of adults ≥55 years. Spirometry confirmed diagnosis of COPD and magnetic resonance imaging was used to detect cerebral microbleeds.

The researchers found that the 165 participants with COPD had a significantly higher prevalence of cerebral microbleeds compared with the 645 subjects with normal lung function (odds ratio, 1.7), independent of age, sex, smoking status, atherosclerotic macroangiopathy, antithrombotic use, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and serum creatinine. Subjects with COPD had a significantly higher occurrence of microbleeds in deep or infratentorial locations (odds ratio, 3.3), which increased with airflow limitation severity. COPD was a significant, independent predictor of incident cerebral microbleeds in deep or infratentorial locations (odds ratio, 7.1) in analysis restricted to participants without microbleed at baseline.

“The results of this study are compatible with an increased risk of COPD on the development of cerebral microbleeds in deep or infratentorial locations,” the authors write. “Given the importance of cognitive and functional consequences, our results might lead to a better recognition of vulnerable patient groups, and enhance research into necessary preventive strategies.”

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