The appropriate treatment for patients with coexistent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart failure (HF) remains unclear. Data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database was used for this retrospective cohort study. Patients diagnosed with both diseases between 1997 and 2012 were enrolled as the COPD-heart failure overlap cohort. Patients were categorized as non-users and users of specific COPD and HF medications. Medication prescriptions in each 3-month and 1-year period served as time-dependent covariates. The primary endpoint was cumulative survival. The validation study confirmed the accuracy of definitions of COPD (94.0% sensitivity) and HF (96.3% sensitivity).

The study included 275,436 patients with COPD-heart failure overlap, with a mean follow-up period of 9.32 years. The COPD-heart failure overlap cohort had more medical service use and higher mortality than did the COPD alone cohort. Use of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS)/long-acting β2 agonist (LABA) combinations, long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), β blockers, aldosterone antagonists, and statins reduced mortality risk compared with non-use. Sensitivity and subgroup analyses confirmed the consistency and robustness of results.

ICS/LABA combinations, LAMA, ARBs, β blockers, aldosterone antagonists, and statins use was associated with a lower mortality risk in patients with COPD-heart failure overlap.