2014 Volume 24 Issue 4 Pages 321-326
Background: Cardiac arrhythmias are cardiac rhythm disorders that comprise an important public health problem. Few prior studies have examined the association between ambient air pollution and arrhythmias in general populations in mainland China.
Methods: We performed a time-series analysis to investigate the short-term association between air pollution (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 10 µm [PM10], sulfur dioxide [SO2], and nitrogen dioxide [NO2]) and outpatient visits for arrhythmia in Shanghai, China. We applied the over-dispersed Poisson generalized additive model to analyze the associations after control for seasonality, day of the week, and weather conditions. We then stratified the analyses by age, gender, and season.
Results: We identified a total of 56 940 outpatient visits for cardiac arrhythmia. A 10-µg/m3 increase in the present-day concentrations of PM10, SO2, and NO2 corresponded to increases of 0.56% (95% CI 0.42%, 0.70%), 2.07% (95% CI 1.49%, 2.64%), and 2.90% (95% CI 2.53%, 3.27%), respectively, in outpatient arrhythmia visits. The associations were stronger in older people (aged ≥65 years) and in females. This study provides the first evidence that ambient air pollution is significantly associated with increased risk of cardiac arrhythmia in mainland China.
Conclusions: Our analyses provide evidence that the current air pollution levels have an adverse effect on cardiovascular health and strengthened the rationale for further limiting air pollution levels in the city.