Lung function, respiratory symptoms and venous thromboembolism risk: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

Y. Kubota, S. J. London, M. Cushman, A. M. Chamberlain, W. D. Rosamond, S. R. Heckbert, N. Zakai, A. R. Folsom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Essentials The association of lung function with venous thromboembolism (VTE) is unclear. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patterns were associated with a higher risk of VTE. Symptoms were also associated with a higher risk of VTE, but a restrictive pattern was not. COPD may increase the risk of VTE and respiratory symptoms may be a novel risk marker for VTE. Summary: Background The evidence for the association between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and venous thromboembolism (VTE) is limited. There is no study investigating the association between restrictive lung disease (RLD) and respiratory symptoms with VTE. Objectives To investigate prospectively the association of lung function and respiratory symptoms with VTE. Patients/Methods In 1987–1989, we assessed lung function by using spirometry, and obtained information on respiratory symptoms (cough, phlegm, and dyspnea) in 14 654 participants aged 45–64 years, without a history of VTE or anticoagulant use, and followed them through 2011. Participants were classified into four mutually exclusive groups: ‘COPD’ (forced expiratory volume in 1 s [FEV1]/forced vital capacity [FVC] below the lower limit of normal [LLN]), ‘RLD’ (FEV1/FVC ≥ LLN and FVC < LLN), ‘respiratory symptoms with normal spirometic results’ (without RLD or COPD), and ‘normal’ (without respiratory symptoms, RLD, or COPD). Results We documented 639 VTEs (238 unprovoked and 401 provoked VTEs). After adjustment for VTE risk factors, VTE risk was increased for individuals with either respiratory symptoms with normal spirometric results (hazard ratio [HR] 1.40, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12–1.73) or COPD (HR 1.33, 95% CI 1.07–1.67) but not for those with RLD (HR 1.15, 95% CI 0.82–1.60). These elevated risks of VTE were derived from both unprovoked and provoked VTE. Moreover, FEV1 and FEV1/FVC showed dose–response relationships with VTE. COPD was more strongly associated with pulmonary embolism than with deep vein thrombosis. Conclusions Obstructive spirometric patterns were associated with an increased risk of VTE, suggesting that COPD may increase the risk of VTE. Respiratory symptoms may represent a novel risk marker for VTE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2394-2401
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the staff and participants of the ARIC Study for their important contributions. Y. Kubota's fellowship at the School of Public Health, University of Minnesota is supported by grants from the Nippon Foundation. S. J. London is supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH). National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) support: R01-HL0597367 and contracts HHSN268201100005C, HHSN268201100006C, HHSN268201100007C, HHSN268201100008C, HHSN268201100009C, HHSN268201100010C, HHSN268201100011C, and HHSN268201100012C.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis


  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • lung function
  • respiratory symptoms
  • restrictive lung disease
  • venous thromboembolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Lung function, respiratory symptoms and venous thromboembolism risk: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this