Asthma increases blood clot risk

  • Deborah Condon

People with asthma may be at an increased risk of developing a serious type of blood clot, a new study indicates.

It focused on pulmonary embolisms (PE) - blood clots that lodge in one of the blood vessels that supply the lungs with blood. A PE usually results from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) - a blood clot in the veins, often in the legs, which breaks away and moves to the lungs.

While previous research has indicated a link between blood clots and chronic lung disease, until now, any potential link with asthma had not been studied.

Dutch scientists decided to investigate. They looked at almost 650 adults with asthma, studying their medical history, including any experience of PE or DVT, and compared them to people without asthma.

They found that people with severe asthma were almost nine times more likely to develop a PE compared to people without asthma.

Furthermore, those with mild to moderate asthma were 3.5 times more likely to develop a PE.

According to lead scientist, Dr Christof Majoor, of the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, this marks the first time a link has been found between asthma and PE, therefore these findings ‘have important clinical implications'.

"Our findings suggest that people with severe asthma have an increased risk of pulmonary embolism and doctors should increase their awareness of the possibility of this occurrence in order to help prevent this serious event," he said.

Details of these findings are published in the European Respiratory Journal.

Some 470,000 people in Ireland have asthma, including one in five children. For more information on the condition, see our Asthma Clinic here


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