Study: Smoke from Wildfires Could Increase Heart Problems

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Newman_170715_2New research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that smoke from wildfires could increase the risk of heart problems, like cardiac arrest.

The Australian study examined the link between heart-related incidents and exposure to micro-particle air pollutants caused by wildfires. The study was conducted between December 2006 and January 2007 in the Australian state of Victoria—where, during these summer months, wildfires are common due to drought.

The study focused on information obtained from three datasets that provided information on out-of-hospital heart attacks, emergency visits that involved cardiac issues, and unscheduled hospital admissions involving cardiovascular problems.

Over a period of two days, the micro-particles in the air increased significantly. The subsequent instances of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests increased 6.9% (strongly associated with men and seniors over the age of 65), emergency visits increased 2.07% for ischemic heart disease, and hospitalizations for ischemic heart disease increased 1.86%.

The study’s co-author, Anjali Haikerwal, a doctoral candidate at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, explains, “These particles may act as a trigger factor for acute cardiovascular health events.”

Researchers conclude that more research needs to be done.

Source for Today’s Article: 
McIntosh, J., “Wildfire smoke could increase risk of heart problems,” Medical News Today web site, July 16 2015;