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Prolonged Air Pollution Hikes Heart Disease Mortality Risk

Long-term exposure to NO2 pollution ups risk of myocardial infarction death outside hospital

THURSDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- Years of breathing polluted urban air can increase the risk of death from heart disease, according to a report in the July issue of Epidemiology.

Mats Rosenlund, Ph.D., of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health in Norrbacka, Sweden, and colleagues analyzed the connection between prolonged air-pollution exposure and first-time myocardial infarction (MI) in 1,397 Stockholm-area MI patients aged 45 to 70 from 1992 to 1994 and in 1,870 healthy controls.

The researchers found no link between prolonged air pollution and MI in general, but they discovered a higher risk of fatal MI. People in the 95th percentile of exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) for an average of 30 years ran 1.51 times the risk of fatal MI and 2.17 times the risk of death outside the hospital compared with someone in the fifth percentile of exposure, the researchers report.

Similarly, the odds ratio was 1.22 for carbon monoxide exposure, 1.39 for exposure to particulate matter of less than 10 μm in diameter, and 1.24 for sulfur dioxide exposure.

"This study provides some support for an association between long-term air pollution exposure and fatal cardiovascular disease," the authors write.

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