Background Chronic inflammatory airway disease (CIAD) has emerged as independent risk factor for cardiovascular mortality and ischemic stroke but the impact of co-existing CIAD in patients with ischemic stroke is less clear. Methods We retrospectively analyzed 1013 patients with acute ischemic stroke who were consecutively admitted to the Department of Neurology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany within one year. Mean follow-up was 80 months (IQR 32–85 months). Using multivariable regression models we analyzed the impact of CIAD (defined as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma bronchiale) on stroke severity and outcome. Results Co-existing CIAD was evident in 7.1 % (n = 72) of all patients with acute ischemic stroke. Baseline characteristics of stroke patients with CIAD did not differ significantly from ischemic stroke patients without CIAD. Age (OR 1.17 [95 % CI 1.03-1.37] per decade), atrial fibrillation (OR 3.43 [95 % CI 2.47-4.78]) and coronary artery disease (OR 1.51 [95 % CI 1.07–2.14]) but not a history of CIAD (p = 0.30) were associated with severe stroke (NIHSS≥11) on hospital admission. Age (HR 1.70 [95 % CI 1.53-1.87] per decade), peripheral artery disease (HR 1.91 [95 % CI 1.35-2.7]), stroke severity at hospital admission (NIHSS per point HR 1.08 [95 % CI 1.06-1.10]), and history of CIAD (HR 1.43 [95 % CI 1.02-2.00]) were independently associated with mortality during long-term follow-up. However, CIAD was not significantly associated with short-term mortality after stroke. Conclusion Co-existing CIAD showed no significant association with stroke severity at hospital admission and early mortality after ischemic stroke. CIAD was negatively associated with long-term survival after ischemic stroke.