Can Indoor Air Purifiers Produce Cardiopulmonary Benefits?

Air purification is significantly associated with decreases in geometric means of several circulating inflammatory and thrombogenic biomarkers, as well as a decreases in systolic blood pressure (BP), diastolic BP and fractional exhaled nitrous oxide, according to a study published May 25 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study analyzed data from 35 healthy college students living in dormitories in Shanghai, China, who were randomized into two groups alternating the use of true or sham air purifiers for 48 hours with a two-week washout interval. Overall results, found that air purification resulted in a 57 percent reduction in the concentration of PM2.5, in addition to a 2.7 percent reduction in systolic BP, a 4.8 percent reduction in diastolic BP and a 17 percent drop in fractional exhaled nitrous oxide. The trial also revealed a beneficial (although not statistically significant) impact on lung function and vasoconstriction.

According to study investigators, their findings demonstrated clear cardiopulmonary benefits of indoor air purification among young, healthy adults with severe exposure to ambient particulate air pollution. They noted, however, that, "future studies should further evaluate the potential health benefits of long-term air purification among more vulnerable populations, such as children, older adults or people with cardiopulmonary diseases."

In an accompanying editorial, Sanjay Rajagopalan, MD, FACC, and Robert D. Brook, MD, note that ultimately improvement in outdoor air quality will be needed to change indoor air quality in places like China and India. "The good news is that air quality regulations, when enforced, can substantially reduce prevailing outdoor air pollution concentrations and improve societal life expectancy rates," they write. "In the meantime, personalized behavioral and small-scale interventions to lower exposures (e.g., filters in homes and cars) may be needed in order to optimally protect citizens in these areas."

Clinical Topics: Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathies

Keywords: Adult, Air Filters, Air Pollution, Air Pollution, Indoor, Blood Pressure, China, Exhalation, Nitrous Oxide, Particulate Matter, Vasoconstriction

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