News | Sudden Cardiac Arrest | May 16, 2018

Exposure to Air Pollution on Cold Days Can Trigger Sudden Cardiac Death in Women

New study finds all sudden cardiac death cases in over 110,000 women took place at air pollution levels below EPA quality standards

Sudden cardiac arrest - Exposure to Air Pollution on Cold Days Can Trigger Sudden Cardiac Death in Women. #HRS2018

May 16, 2018 — A new study shows that women exposed to particular matter (PM) and lower temperatures for even a short amount of time are at an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). PM is a mixture of hazardous, small particle pollutants that includes dust, pollen, soot, smoke and liquid droplets that get into the air. The study is the largest of its kind in the United States to date and was presented at Heart Rhythm 2018, the Heart Rhythm Society's 39th Annual Scientific Sessions. 

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart stops beating, abruptly and without warning. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. If the heartbeat is not restored with an electrical shock immediately, SCD follows within minutes. According to the Heart Rhythm Society, approximately 325,000 incidences of SCD happen in adults each year, and it is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. SCA claims one life every 90 seconds, taking more lives each year than breast cancer, lung cancer or AIDS.  

The study evaluated 112,700 women in the Nurses' Health Study, an ongoing study that began in 1976. Daily exposures to PM less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) and mean temperatures were determined at the home address of each participant. For each SCD case, the exposure to PM on the day of SCD was compared to that on control days matched on the day of the week and selected from the same month as the case day. 

There were 221 SCDs identified between 1999-2011. Findings indicated increased exposures to PM were associated with a suggestive linear increase in SCD risk. The association was significantly modified by ambient temperature. SCD was associated with PM in the lowest quartiles of temperature (below 39.03 F°), but no associations were observed at higher temperatures (ranging from 54.66-68.91°F). Of note, all PM2.5 exposures in this study were far below the current daily U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard for PM2.5 (35 µg/m3). 

"Before this study, the relationship between short-term exposure to air pollution and sudden cardiac death was not known, especially within the lower-risk, general population. Our study demonstrates that even a small amount of air pollution on colder days could put people at risk," explained lead author Jaime Hart, SCD, assistant professor at Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "To reduce exposures, people who don't live with smokers should try to keep their windows closed and minimize outdoor activities on cold days and to be aware of pollution levels in the air. We hope our results will raise awareness of air pollution as a risk factor and potentially lead to a review of EPA standards, to ultimately, help reduce the number of sudden cardiac death cases." 

The authors note that future studies are warranted to further understand the cause of this linear relationship of air pollution and SCD and to see if it is observed in other populations, including men. 

Read about Hart's related research on air pollution and cardiovascular disease and how the combination increased risk for women with diabetes.

Heart Rhythm 2018 is the most comprehensive educational program for heart rhythm professionals, featuring more than 200 educational sessions and more than 140 exhibitors showcasing innovative products and services. For more information:

Find links to all the Heart Rhythm 2018 Late-breaking Studies


#HRS2018 #HRS18

Related Content

Livongo Launches Applied Health Signals Product Category
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | November 30, 2018
Healthcare technology company Livongo recently announced the launch of its Applied Health Signals product category,...
HHS Releases Second Edition of Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. #AHA2018 #AHA18
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | November 14, 2018
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines...
ACC and AHA Release Updated Cholesterol Guidelines for 2018. #AHA18 #AHA2018
Feature | Cardiac Diagnostics | November 13, 2018
November 13, 2018 — New cholesterol guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of
AMI READMITS Score Predicts Heart Attack Patients at High Readmission Risk
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | October 09, 2018
Tracking just seven factors of heart attack patients when they are first admitted to the hospital can help flag those...
Siemens Healthineers Showcases New In Vivo and In Vitro Cardiovascular Solutions at TCT 2018
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | September 21, 2018
At the 2018 Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) conference, Sept. 21-25 in San Diego, Siemens Healthineers...
Weight Loss Drug Does Not Increase Cardiovascular Events
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | August 31, 2018
A weight loss drug does not increase cardiovascular events, according to late breaking results from the CAMELLIA-TIMI...
Acarix Presents CADScor System at ESC 2018
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | August 27, 2018
Acarix AB’s ultra-sensitive acoustic CADScor System for coronary artery disease risk assessment will be on display at...
NIH Ending Funding for Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health Trial
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | August 24, 2018
The National Institutes of Health announced in June it plans to end funding to the Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular...
Study Shows Multiple Benefits of Patient-to-Patient Connectivity in Familial Chylomicronemia Syndrome
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | August 07, 2018
Akcea Therapeutics Inc., an affiliate of Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc., announced the publication of results from the...
Being Overweight May Change Young Adults' Heart Structure, Function
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | August 03, 2018
Even as a young adult, being overweight may cause higher blood pressure and thicken heart muscle, setting the stage for...
Overlay Init