By Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Nov. 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of ozone air pollution could increase the risk of cardiac arrest, a new study says.
It included 187,000 people, average age 63, in the United States who suffered out-of-hospital cardiac arrest between 2013 and 2016.
Their exposure to ozone air pollution was estimated using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data on daily ozone levels in different regions.
For every increase of 12 parts per billion (ppb) in the ozone level, the odds of cardiac arrest rose 1%, which is statistically significant, according to the researchers.
There was no association between levels of particulate matter air pollution and cardiac arrest. The study also found that age, sex and race made no difference in the risk of air pollution-related cardiac arrest.
However, "We found that a higher concentration of ozone on the day the out-of-hospital cardiac arrest occurred was significantly associated with a higher risk," said lead author Dr. Ali Malik, a research fellow at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo. His team will present their research at a virtual meeting of the American Heart Association held Nov. 14-16.
"Importantly, we found that the relationship between ozone and risk of [out-of-hospital cardiac arrest] was present even at concentrations below the EPA air quality standard. These findings may have important public health implications," Malik said in a meeting news release.
The study only found an association and couldn't prove cause and effect. Also, research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
But it's important, Malik believes, to limit exposure to high ozone levels and take more aggressive steps to decrease airborne concentrations.
Prior studies have linked exposure to ozone and particulate matter air pollution with the development of chronic diseases.
In a 2010 scientific statement, the AHA said air pollutants are a "modifiable factor that contributes to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality."
SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 9, 2020