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  • Patients With COPD at Increased Risk of Carotid Artery Plaque Formation

    New research from the Netherlands shows that older patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at increased risk for carotid artery plaque formation and for the presence of vulnerable plaques with a lipid core, according to the American Thoracic Society

    The cross-sectional study, part of the Rotterdam Study, an ongoing population-based cohort study examining the occurrence of and risk factors for chronic diseases in subjects aged 55 years and older, involved 253 patients with COPD and 920 patients without the condition. COPD was confirmed by spirometry. Participations with carotid wall thickening (intima-media thickness ≥ 2.5 mm) on ultrasonography underwent high-resolution MRI to characterize carotid plaques.

    Participants with COPD had a twofold increased risk of carotid wall thickening on ultrasonography compared with controls. This risk increased significantly with the severity of airflow limitation. On MRI, vulnerable lipid core plaques were significantly more frequent in participants with COPD compared with those without COPD.

    "Clinicians should be aware that COPD patients are at increased risk for asymptomatic carotid atherosclerosis and that COPD might lead to vulnerable plaques by inducing or aggravating the presence of plaques with a lipid core," said researcher Bruno H.C. Stricker, MD, PhD.

     "Understanding the underlying risk factors for stroke in COPD patients can help identify those at high risk and lead to the development of more personalized preventive treatment strategies targeting this devastating complication," he added.

    The findings were published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

    Foundation of Haitian Rehabilitation Seeks Volunteers

    The Foundation of Haitian Rehabilitation (FONHARE) is a grassroots Haitian organization providing rehabilitation services to the citizens of Ouanaminthe. It is the only organization providing rehab services in the northeast of Haiti to 13 cities with almost 500,000 citizens. Ivens Louius, the founder and director, is a physical therapist and an occupational therapist. FONHARE currently is providing services in a medical clinic owned and run by Louius's  brother, who is a physician. A foundation has been laid for a large onsite rehabilitation clinic adjacent to the medical clinic. There is a genuine need for volunteers to be part of establishing rehabilitation and physical therapy as a specialized service in a country that had virtually none before the 2010 earthquake. For more information about volunteer opportunities, as well as opportunities to provide financial support, visit FONHARE at www.fonhare.org.