Adding to the ill effects of air pollution, a new study has suggested that poor air quality increases patients' risk of heart attack. The findings revealed that people with heart disease face an increased risk of a serious heart attack during poor air quality days.
For the study, researchers examined more than 16,000 patients at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City. The team analyzed patients who had suffered three types of heart attacks - STEMI, non-STEMI, and unstable angina - to identify which type of heart attack was more likely on days when the air was especially polluted.
Cardiologist Kent Meredith said, "The research indicated that during poor air quality days, namely those with high levels of PM2.5, patients with heart disease are at a higher risk of suffering from a STEMI heart attack. By making this association, physicians can better counsel their heart patients to avoid exposure to poor air quality, and thus decrease their chances of suffering a heart attack on days that they are potentially at highest risk."
The study was presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Session in Orlando.