Monday, September 26, 2011


With rising concern about the environment, and in particular air-pollution, there are now more and more studies highlighting the harmful effects of air pollution and the heart. I have written on this before.
In the latest issue of the British Medical Journal, Dr Krishnan Baskharan and colleague from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, studied the records of 80,000 heart attack survivors in England and Wales. They then plot the hourly pollution index of that locale and found that there seem to be a correlation between heart attacks and pollution index, up to six hours. Meaning that exposure to pollution could trigger a heart attack, within 6 hours. They were quite clear in saying that pollution, did not cause the heart attack, but it may have triggered the heart attack. There seemed to be some statistical correlation.
The how is much more difficult to answer. It is lightly that petrol fumes and pollution increase the viscosity of the blood, or may have produce coronary vasospasm, thus triggering the coronary thrombosis.
It is noted that this is a retrospective study from case records, and thus cannot be conformatory, it would be good advice for patients with coronary artery disease to avoid polluted areas, if at all possible, otherwise, there is an immediate danger ( within 6 hours ) that the pollution may trigger a heart attack.
I would like to see the same study carried out in China, or even Malaysia, seeing that before this round of rain, the air was quite obviously polluted and smell of the haze.

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