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Cardiac Patients Vulnerable to Effects of Air Pollution

Risk is greatest for those who have recently had cardiac event

TUESDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiac patients, particularly those who have been hospitalized within the past month due to a cardiac event, are vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, according to research published in the Sept. 23 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Kai Jen Chuang, Ph.D., of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study of 48 patients aged 43 to 75 years who underwent a total of 5,979 observations to investigate the association between exposure to particulate matter and ST-segment level changes. Observations on each patient were conducted up to four times in the year after a percutaneous intervention for myocardial infarction, acute coronary syndrome without infarction or stable coronary artery disease without acute coronary syndrome.

There was an association between half-hour-averaged ST-segment level depression and elevation in fine particles and black carbon levels, with a 1.5-fold increased risk of ST-segment depression for interquartile mean increase in black carbon levels over the previous 24 hours, the researchers report.

"Our study suggests that these effects of air pollution on increased risk of ST-segment depression and ischemia may be heightened in the immediate period after an acute coronary event, when risk of ischemia might be reduced by reduction in pollution exposure, including exposure to traffic," the authors write.

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