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Karl-Fredrik Eriksson

Associate professor

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Low lung function, sudden cardiac death and non-fatal coronary events in the general population


  • Suneela Zaigham
  • Karl-Fredrik Eriksson
  • Per Wollmer
  • Gunnar Engström

Summary, in English

BACKGROUND: Many of those who suffer from a first acute coronary event (CE) die suddenly during the day of the event, most of them die outside hospital. Poor lung function is a strong predictor of future cardiac events; however, it is unknown whether the pattern of lung function impairment differs for the prediction of sudden cardiac death (SCD) versus non-fatal CEs. We examined measures of lung function in relation to future SCD and non-fatal CE in a population-based study.

METHODS: Baseline spirometry was assessed in 28 584 middle-aged subjects, without previous history of CE, from the Malmö Preventive Project. The cohort was followed prospectively for incidence of SCD (death on the day of a first CE, inside or outside hospital) or non-fatal CE (survived the first day). A modified version of the Lunn McNeil's competing risk method for Cox regression was used to run models for both SCD and non-fatal CE simultaneously.

RESULTS: A 1-SD reduction in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) was more strongly associated with SCD than non-fatal CE even after full adjustment (FEV1: HR for SCD: 1.23 (1.15 to 1.31), HR for non-fatal CE 1.08 (1.04 to 1.13), p value for equal associations=0.002). Similar associations were found for forced vital capacity (FVC) but not FEV1/FVC. The results remained significant even in life-long never smokers (FEV1: HR for SCD: 1.34 (1.15 to 1.55), HR for non-fatal CE: 1.11 (1.02 to 1.21), p value for equal associations=0.038). Similar associations were seen when % predicted values of lung function measures were used.

CONCLUSIONS: Low FEV1 is associated with both SCD and non-fatal CE, but consistently more strongly associated with future SCD. Measurement with spirometry in early life could aid in the risk stratification of future SCD. The results support the use of spirometry for a global assessment of cardiovascular risk.


  • Cardiovascular Research - Epidemiology
  • Genomics, Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • Vascular Diseases - Clinical Research
  • Clinical Physiology, Malmö
  • EpiHealth: Epidemiology for Health

Publishing year





BMJ Open Respiratory Research





Document type

Journal article


BMJ Publishing Group


  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy



Research group

  • Cardiovascular Research - Epidemiology
  • Genomics, Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • Vascular Diseases - Clinical Research
  • Clinical Physiology, Malmö


  • ISSN: 2052-4439