Air pollution increases risk of repeat heart attack

Air pollution increases risk of repeat heart attackTel Aviv, June 6 : Air pollution elevates risk of repeat heart attacks besides other major health risks linked with respiratory infections, lung cancer and heart disease, a study says.

Cardiac patients living in high-pollution areas were found to be over 40 percent more likely to have a second heart attack compared to patients living in low-pollution areas, says Yariv Gerber of Tel Aviv University's School of Public Health at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Israel.

The goal of the study, says Gerber, was to quantify that link and determine the long-term effects of air pollution on myocardial infarction (MI) patients.

MI commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die, according to a Tel Aviv statement.

The study followed 1,120 first-time MI patients who had been admitted to one of eight hospitals in central Israel between 1992 and 1993, all of whom were under the age of 65 at the time of admittance. The patients were followed up until 2011, a period of 19 years.

Compared to patients who lived in areas with the lowest recorded levels of pollution, those in the most polluted environment were 43 percent more likely to have a second heart attack or suffer congestive heart failure and 46 percent more likely to suffer a stroke.

The study also found that patients exposed to air pollution were 35 percent more likely to die in nearly 20 years following their first heart attack than those who were exposed to lower levels of pollution.

Co-authored with professor Yaacov Drory, the research was presented at the San Diego Epidemiological Meeting of the American Heart Association in March and the annual meeting of the Israeli Heart Society in April.(IANS)