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Air pollution greatly increases the risk of cardiac arrest

Research published in The Lancet Planetary Health has revealed that for every daily 10 ?g/m3 increase in particulate matter (PM2.5), the risk of cardiac arrest increases by between 1-4%.

According to the Australian Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease is one of Australia’s largest health problems, killing one Australian citizen every 12 minutes. 

With increasing research highlighting the impact that air pollution can have on the heart, researchers from the University of Sydney set out to conduct the largest study of its kind to further understand the link between air pollution and out of hospital cardiac arrests. 

The researchers chose to use data from Japan because it has superior air pollution monitoring and a higher population density. 

They analysed almost a quarter of a million cases of cardiac arrests in Japan and found a clear link between heart attacks and higher levels of air pollution.

Based on the data, the researchers found that the risk of cardiac arrest increases by 1-4% for every 10 ?g/m3 increase in PM2.5.

There are around 15,000 cardiac arrests in Australia each year and the researchers hypothesised that if there is a 10 unit increase in the daily average of PM2.5 it could lead to a further 600 heart attacks. 

Professor Negishi said: ‘Out of hospital cardiac arrest is a major medical emergency, with less than one in 10 people worldwide surviving this event, and there has been increasing evidence of an association with the more acute air pollution, PM2.5.

‘Our study supports recent evidence that there is no safe level of air pollution – finding an increased risk of cardiac arrest despite air quality generally meeting the standards. 

‘Given the fact that there is a tendency towards worsening air pollution – from increasing numbers of cars as well as disasters such as bushfires, the impacts on cardiovascular events, in addition to respiratory diseases and lung cancer must be taken into account in our health care responses.’

Earlier this month, a new campaign by the British Heart Foundation warned that unless laws are introduced to limit current air pollution levels in the UK, then their current estimated figure of 11,000 deaths a year from heart attacks and strokes will increase significantly.

Photo Credit – Pixabay 

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