By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
A time-stratified-case-crossover study looked at cardiovascular health effects of wildfire smoke when combined with ambient air from brushfires surrounding Victoria, Australia in 2006-2007, according to Anjali Haikerwal, MBBS, MPH, of Monash University in Melbourne, and colleagues.
The study measured associations with out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and admissions for Ischemic Heart Disease after two days of exposure to wildfire smoke. The smoke containing particulate matter can disperse over large ranges of area, affecting large numbers of the population. The 2006-2007 timeframe was especially problematic in the Victoria area involving over one million hectares of land and lasting for sixty days.
Previous epidemiological studies of this nature were inconclusive but this recent study shows a different conclusion.
“Their data support previous findings of increased cardiovascular hospital admissions during increased air pollution exposure, and basic studies showing that particulate contamination can alter autonomic activity and negatively affect cardiovascular health,” said Alfred Bove, MD, PhD, a cardiologist at Temple University in Philadelphia, in an interview.
“The findings indicate that patients should be made aware of an increased risk for cardiovascular events during times when air pollution is particularly severe, whether from wildfires, heavy vehicle traffic or other exposures,” he told MedPage Today.
The study provides public health agencies with evidence and impetus to address the effects of wildland fires in areas prone to such events and to increase awareness of the public and medical professionals. It stresses also the need to be vigilant of vulnerable persons who might experience life threatening cardiac events and not just lung ailments.
By Darren Smith
The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.