Does Short-Term Air-Pollution Exposure Increase MI Mortality?

Short-term exposure to particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5), particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter ≤10 μm (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide may be associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction (MI) mortality, according to a study published Jan. 18 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Yuewei Liu, MD, PhD, et al., sought to investigate the association of short-term exposure to air pollution across a wide range of concentrations with MI mortality by investigating 151,608 MI death cases in the Hubei province of China from 2013 to 2018. Based on each case's home address, exposure to PM2.5, PM10, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and ozone on each of the case and control days was assessed as the inverse distance-weighted average concentration at neighboring air quality monitoring stations.

Researchers found that exposure to PM2.5, PM10 and nitrogen dioxide was significantly associated with increased odds of MI mortality. The odds associated with PM2.5 and PM10 exposures increased steeply before a breakpoint and flattened out at higher exposure levels, while the association for nitrogen dioxide exposure was almost linear. The association between nitrogen dioxide exposure and MI mortality was significantly stronger in older adults.

"These findings add to the understanding of acute adverse effects of air pollution on cardiovascular mortality and highlight the need for either general population or policy practitioners to take effective measures in reducing air pollution exposures, especially for older adults and those with higher risk of MI occurrence," the authors conclude.

"One silver lining in the dark cloud of COVID-19 has been the singular impact of the pandemic on global air pollution emissions," write Sanjay Rajagopalan, MD, FACC, and Jagat Narula, MD, DM, PhD, MACC, in an accompanying editorial comment. "Early in the pandemic, with complete cessation of road traffic and air travel in many parts of the world, there was a dramatic impact on air pollution levels. PM2.5 plummeted across the globe resulting in "blue sky days," allowing anyone to ponder a future free from air pollution."

Clinical Topics: Cardiovascular Care Team

Keywords: ACC International, Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulfur Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Particulate Matter, Ozone, Carbon Dioxide, Air Travel, Pandemics, COVID-19, Air Pollution, China, Myocardial Infarction, Policy

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