Older adults with emphysema had a greater risk for either subarachnoid hemorrhage or ruptured aortic aneurysm compared with those without emphysema, according to study results published in Stroke.

Researchers retrospectively analyzed hospitalizations for either aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage or a ruptured aortic aneurysm from a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries older than 66 years of age. The effects of emphysema on hospitalization rates for the 2 conditions were compared between groups.

Of the 1,670,915 patients included in the study analysis, 133,972 had a diagnosis of emphysema. The mean follow-up time was 4.3 years. There were 4835 cases of aneurysm rupture, 433 of which occurred in patients with emphysema. The annual incidence of aneurysm rupture was 14.6 (95% CI, 13.3-16.0) and 6.5 (95% CI, 6.4-6.8) per 10,000 in patients with and without emphysema, respectively.

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In addition, in 2 post hoc analyses, the researchers found a significant association between emphysema and unruptured cerebral or aortic aneurysms (hazard ratio, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.6-1.8).

The researchers wrote that their findings may point to a possible mechanism between emphysema and aneurysm, suggesting the formation of the 2 conditions may share a similar underlying pathophysiology

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Mahta A, Merkler AE, Reznik ME, et al. Emphysema: a potential risk factor for subarachnoid hemorrhage and ruptured aortic aneurysm [published March 19, 2019]. Stroke. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.118.024660

This article originally appeared on Pulmonology Advisor