Effect of air pollution on the number of hospital admissions for acute coronary syndrome in elderly patients

As air pollution is a documented risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, the aim of the study was to assess the effect of air pollution on the number of hospital admissions for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in elderly patients.

The medical records of 26 695 patients hospitalized for ACS between 2008 and 2017 were examined. Weather conditions and the following components of air pollution were analyzed: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 μm or less (PM2.5) and a diameter of 10 μm or less (PM10).

The study included 1618 inhabitants of Białystok in Poland (mean [SD] age, 75 [6.4] years; men, 52.6%). The norm for PM2.5 was exceeded on 23.5% of days, while for PM10, on 5.3% of days. Elevated PM10 levels were associated with a higher number of hospitalizations for ACS on the day of exposure (mean [SD], 0.61 [0.78] vs 0.44 [0.69]; P <0.001), and this effect persisted in the subsequent days (mean [SD], 1.07 [1.07] vs 0.88 [1.00]; P = 0.02). An increase of PM10 concentrations by 10 μg/m3 was associated with an increase in the number of hospitalizations due to unstable angina, and significant effects were observed even after 6 days (rate ratio, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.03-1.32; P = 0.02).

What are the main findings of our work?

Increased exposure to air pollution is linked to a greater number of ACS incidents. The main air pollutant that is associated with ACS in elderly people in the city of Białystok is PM10. The effect of increased concentrations of PM10 was observed on the day of exposure and also persisted in the following days. The reduction of pollution sources and the expansion of air quality monitoring networks should become a priority in social and health policy of the government at the local and national levels.

The full article can be accessed at DOI: 10.20452/pamw.15064

PubMed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31742576/

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