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Link Between Air Pollution And Heart Failure Hospitalizations

Intermountain Medical Center, Brigham Young University Study Finds Link Between Air Pollution And Heart Failure Hospitalizations

Jess Gomez

 (801) 507-7455

 Jess.Gomez@imail.org

 11/10/2008

Murray, Utah (11/10/2008) - Ambient particulate matter air pollution may worsen heart failure by triggering cardiac “decompensation” – failure of the heart to maintain adequate circulation, according to a new study by heart researchers at Intermountain Medical Center in collaboration with scientists from Brigham Young University.

Researchers from the department of cardiovascular medicine at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray and scientists from Brigham Young University explored the effects of fine particulate air pollution.

Researchers will present their findings to colleagues at the American Heart Association’s national scientific session on Monday, Nov. 10, in New Orleans. The study is embargoed until Monday, Nov. 10, 2008, by the American Heart Association.

Key findings of the Intermountain Medical Center/BYU study:

  • A 14-day lagged cumulative average of PM2.5 exposure was associated with a 13.1 percent increase in heart failure admissions.
  • The strongest PM2.5 heart failure associations were for elderly patients who had been previously hospitalized for heart failure and who required a short time back in the hospital.
  • For previously hospitalized heart failure patients, the 14-day lagged cumulative average of PM2.5 was associated with a 32.4 percent increase in heart failure readmissions.
  • The 21-day lagged average exposure also was linked to an increased risk of 14.5 percent.

Intermountain Medical Center cardiovascular researcher, Benjamin Horne, PhD, MPH, principal investigator of the study, says the data shows that heart failure exacerbations, as reflected in hospitalizations, “are significantly associated with lagged cumulative exposure to PM2.5 of approximately two weeks.”

“Our results suggest that air pollution may play a small, but important role in precipitating acute cardiac decompensation in otherwise well-managed heart failure patients,” he says.

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