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Long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with survival following acute coronary syndrome

Cathryn Tonne, Paul Wilkinson
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehs480 ehs480 First published online: 19 February 2013


Aims The aim of this study was to determine (i) whether long-term exposure to air pollution was associated with all-cause mortality using the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP) data for England and Wales, and (ii) the extent to which exposure to air pollution contributed to socioeconomic inequalities in prognosis.

Methods and results Records of patients admitted to hospital with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in MINAP collected under the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research were linked to modelled annual average air pollution concentrations for 2004–10. Hazard ratios for mortality starting 28 days after admission were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models. Among the 154 204 patients included in the cohort, the average follow-up was 3.7 years and there were 39 863 deaths. Mortality rates were higher for individuals exposed to higher levels of particles with a diameter of ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5; PM, particulate matter): the fully adjusted hazard ratio for a 10 µg/m3 increase in PM2.5 was 1.20 (95% CI 1.04–1.38). No associations were observed for larger particles or oxides of nitrogen. Air pollution explained socioeconomic inequalities in survival to only a small extent.

Conclusion Mortality from all causes was higher among individuals with greater exposure to PM2.5 in survivors of hospital admission for ACS in England and Wales. Despite higher exposure to PM2.5 among those from more deprived areas, such exposure was a minor contribution to the socioeconomic inequalities in prognosis following ACS. Our findings add to the evidence of mortality associated with long-term exposure to fine particles.

  • Air pollution
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Mortality
  • Socioeconomic inequalities
  • Cohort

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