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Traffic and the Onset of Myocardial Infarction

CITATION:  Peters, A., von Klot, Stephanie, et. al (2004, October 21). Exposure to Traffic and the Onset of Myocardial Infarction. The New England Journal of Medicine, 351(17), 1721-1730. 

ABSTRACT:   An association between exposure to vehicular traffic in urban areas and the exacerbation of cardiovascular disease has been suggested in previous studies. This study was designed to assess whether exposure to traffic can trigger myocardial infarction.

An association was found between exposure to traffic and the onset of a myocardial infarction within one hour afterward (odds ratio, 2.92; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.22 to 3.83; P<0.001). The time the subjects spent in cars, on public transportation, or on motorcycles or bicycles was consistently linked with an increase in the risk of myocardial infarction. Adjusting for the level of exercise on a bicycle or for getting up in the morning changed the estimated effect of exposure to traffic only slightly (odds ratio for myocardial infarction, 2.73; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.06 to 3.61; P<0.001). The subject's use of a car was the most common source of exposure to traffic; nevertheless, there was also an association between time spent on public transportation and the onset of a myocardial infarction one hour later.

Conclusion:  Transient exposure to traffic may increase the risk of myocardial infarction in susceptible persons.

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