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Cardiovascular disease is common in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and raised troponin is common in exacerbations. However, the prevalence of myocardial infarction following hospitalisation for exacerbation of COPD is unknown. Patients aged ≥ 40 yrs hospitalised with acute exacerbation of COPD (n = 242) with ≥ 10 pack-yrs of cigarette smoking were included in a prospective case series conducted in four hospitals. Patients whose primary presenting complaint was chest pain or who had an alternative diagnosis were excluded. Chest pain histories, serial ECGs and troponin levels were obtained. The mean ± SD age was 69 ± 9 yrs; 108 (45%) patients were male and almost half were current smokers. 124 (51%; 95% CI 48-58%) patients had chest pain, which was exertional in 62 (26%). 24 (10%) had raised troponin, among whom, 20 (8.3%; 95% CI 5.1-12.5%) had chest pain and/or serial ECG changes, fulfilling the 2007 Universal Definition of Myocardial Infarction. Neither chest pain (p = 0.77) nor serial ECG changes (p = 0.39) were associated with raised troponin. Raised troponin, chest pain and serial ECG changes are common in patients admitted to hospital with exacerbation of COPD. Overall, one in 12 patients met the criteria for myocardial infarction. Whether these patients would benefit from further cardiac investigation is unknown.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur respir j

Publication Date





1097 - 1103


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Chest Pain, Disease Progression, Electrocardiography, Female, Hospitalization, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Myocardial Infarction, Prevalence, Prospective Studies, Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive, Smoking, Troponin