Stroke risk link to lung condition

All patients with abnormal blood vessels in their lungs should be treated for stroke, regardless of whether they have shown any cardiovascular symptoms, say UK researchers.

Around 4,000 people in the UK are estimated to have the lung condition known as pulmonary arteriovenous malformations (PAVMs).

As many as one in three patients with PAVMs will suffer a stroke by the age of 65.

Until now, the treatment for PAVMs, known as embolisation, has only been available for small numbers of patients because of concerns over the effectiveness of the treatment.

But this latest study has shown that treatment does reduce the risk of stroke and suggests that the treatment should be offered to all patients with PAVMs.

For the study, the researchers analysed the medical histories of 219 PAVMs patients from 1999 to 2005.

Information on the size and number of malformed blood vessels in the lungs was recorded.

Over the six-year study period, 57 PAVMs patients suffered a stroke. No association was found between the severity of PAVM and the likelihood of suffering a stroke.

But none of the 58 patients who were treated with embolisation developed a stroke.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Thorax Online 2007

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