Asthma, Asthma Control and Risk of Acute Myocardial Infarction: HUNT Study

Asthma, a chronic inflammatory airway disease, shares several common pathophysiological mechanisms with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Our aim was to assess the prospective associations between asthma, levels of asthma control and risk of AMI. We followed 57,104 adults without previous history of AMI at baseline from Nord-Trøndelag health study (HUNT) in Norway. Self-reported asthma was categorised as active asthma (i.e., using asthma medication) and non-active asthma (i.e., not using asthma medication). Levels of asthma control were defined as controlled, partly controlled, and uncontrolled based on the Global Initiative for Asthma guidelines. AMI was ascertained by linking HUNT data with hospital records.

A total of 2868 AMI events (5.0%) occurred during a mean (SD) follow-up of 17.2 (5.4) years. Adults with active asthma had an estimated 29% higher risk of developing AMI [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 1.29, 95% CI 1.08-1.54] compared with adults without asthma. There was a significant dose-response association between asthma control and AMI risk, with highest risk in adults with uncontrolled asthma (adjusted HR 1.73, 95% CI 1.13-2.66) compared to adults with controlled asthma (p for trend < 0.05). The associations were not explained by smoking status, physical activity and C-reactive protein levels.

Our study suggests that active asthma and poor asthma control are associated with moderately increased risk of AMI. Further studies are needed to evaluate causal relationship and the underlying mechanisms and to clarify the role of asthma medications in the risk of AMI.