Friday, 29 November 2013

Link found between air pollution and cardiac arrest

There could be a link between levels of air pollution and cardiac arrest, a new study has found.

An increase in particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) was correlated with a more than 10 per cent increase in the risk of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, the study showed.

Sources of an increase in particulate matter include car exhausts and wood burning.

However, there could be other contributing factors to these results.

“Actually Monday at 9am is the worst, so it can be partly stress-related,” Dr Lahn Straney of the DEPM's Aus-ROC told Science Network.

“If you look at the levels of pollutants, it kind of corresponds with traffic time as well.”

Nevertheless, he says that high risk people should try to reduce their exposure to air pollution.

“A lot of carbon monoxide comes from traffic pollution and PM2.5 is affected by traffic but also burning of things, so burning wood, bushfires and things like that,” Dr Straney said.

“If we think of people that are at high risk, so older people typically, you really don’t want to be building nursing homes, you don’t want to be having hospitals on major roads.”

The study, authored by Dr Straney, looked at 8551 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the metropolitan area attended by paramedics between 2000 and 2010. It then compared them with hourly air pollution levels recorded at seven monitors.

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