Air pollution increases death risk in heart failure

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A recent study presented at Heart Failure 2023, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), has found that heart failure patients have an increased risk of death from their condition on polluted days and up to two days afterward.

Study Details and Findings

Dr. Lukasz Kuzma of the Medical University of Bialystok, Poland, and the author of the study, suggests that reducing air pollution could help prevent worsening heart failure.

He emphasizes the need to protect vulnerable groups, especially during winter, and recommends that health professionals work with patients to monitor air quality and choose optimal times for outdoor activity.

Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to human health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In particular, particulate matter (PM)2.5 and PM10, primarily originating from vehicle exhaust emissions and industry fumes, have been identified as major health hazards.

In 2019, ambient air pollution was responsible for an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths globally.

Heart failure affects over 64 million people worldwide. Previous studies by the same authors found that increases in particulate matter correlated with increased hospitalizations for heart failure.

This study aimed to investigate the connection between exposure to smog and short-term mortality from heart failure.


The researchers obtained mortality data from the five main cities in Eastern Poland from 2016 to 2020 and retrieved concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 from the Inspectorate for Environmental Protection.

Individual pollution exposure was associated with mortality using home postcodes.

The study used a time-stratified case-crossover design, allowing participants to act as their own controls and eliminating potential confounding factors.

All analyses were adjusted for factors including the time of year, day of the week, weather conditions, and long-term trends such as population demographics.


A total of 87,990 deaths were recorded during the five-year study period, with 7,404 attributed to heart failure.

The risk of death due to heart failure on polluted days increased by 10% and 9%, respectively, for each 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 and PM10. This risk persisted one and two days following smog exposure.

Dr. Kuzma recommends that heart failure patients minimize their time in polluted areas and advocate for better air quality in their communities.

He concludes that incorporating the impact of pollution in public health measures could lead to improved outcomes for heart failure patients.

These measures should be implemented alongside clinical care for optimal results.

If you care about heart health, please read studies that apple juice could benefit your heart health, and Yogurt may help lower the death risks of heart disease.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies that Vitamin D deficiency can increase heart disease risk, and results showing honey may help protect your heart and metabolic health.

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