Increases in Air Pollution Linked to Increase in Blocked Artery Treatments
Air pollution may trigger a heart attack, stroke, or irregular heart rhythms, especially in people who have or are at risk for heart disease. A new study has found that the rate of angioplasty procedures is higher in heavily polluted areas, and are most common in winter, the most polluted time of year.
Participants in the study included 5,648 people from unpolluted cities and 10,239 people from polluted cities. All of the participants had undergone stent insertion to open arteries blocked due to heart attack or unstable angina. The researchers matched the dates of the procedures with air quality on the same day, looking at rates of particulate matter 10 (PM10).
The researchers found that a rise in PM10 correlated with an increase in stent insertion procedures. They also found that people in unpolluted cities were more sensitive to rises in pollution levels. Every 1 ?g/m3 increase in PM10 concentration was associated with 0.22 additional stent insertions per week. In polluted cities, 1 ?g/m3 increase in PM10 concentration was associated with a 0.18 additional stent insertions per week.
In addition, stent insertion procedures were significantly higher in the winter in both unpolluted and polluted cities. According to the researchers, air pollution is higher in the winter, primarily due to artificial heating and the smog it creates.
The study was conducted by researchers from University Hospital in Krakow. It was presented on September 2, 2019 at the European Society of Cardiology Congress.