Rome, 18 April 2013. The association between road traffic and heart disease has been suggested in several studies. In 2012 a large prospective cohort study from Denmark showed that traffic noise was significantly associated with risk of heart attack - for every 10 decibel increase in noise exposure (either at the time of the attack or over the five years preceding it) there was a 12% increased risk.(1)
Now, a new study presented at the EuroPRevent 2013 congress in Rome shows that long-term exposure to fine particle matter (PM) air pollution in part derived from traffic pollution is also associated with atherosclerosis independent of traffic noise.(2)
Details of the study were described by Dr Hagen Klsch from West-German Heart Center in Essen, Germany, who explained that the study was designed to establish where responsibility for the increased heart risks associated with traffic actually lay - with noise or particle pollution, or both.
The study was based on data from the German Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study, a population-based cohort of 4814 participants with a mean age of 60 years. Their proximity to roads with high traffic volume was calculated with official street maps, their long-term exposure to particle pollutants assessed with a chemistry transport model, and road traffic noise recorded by validated tests. The participants' level of atherosclerosis was evaluated by measurement of vascular vessel calcification in the thoracic aorta, a common marker of subclinical atherosclerosis (known as TAC), by computed tomography imaging.
Results showed that in the 4238 subjects included in the study small particulate matter (designated as PM2.5) and proximity to major roads were both associated with an increasing level of aortic calcification - for every increase in particle volume up to 2.4 micrometers (PM2.5) the degree of calcification increased by 20.7% and for every 100 metre proximity to heavy traffic by 10%. The study also fo
|Contact: Jacqueline Partarrieu|
European Society of Cardiology