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Diesel exhaust may increase risk in patients with heart disease
Date:9/12/2007

strongest for the fine exhaust particles produced by road traffic. Researchers are particularly interested in diesel engines because they generate 10-100 times more pollutant particles than petrol engines. The number of diesel-powered automobiles is increasing in Europe and other parts of the world.

Diesel exhaust consists of a complex mixture of particles and gases. Before we can recommend the widespread use of particle traps in diesel engines, we need to show that particles are the responsible component, Dr Mills said.

If we do that, then it is likely that devices to filter particles from exhaust, will reduce exposure and benefit public health.

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: There is already evidence that air pollution can make existing heart conditions worse. This research is helping us work out why. It shows that in patients with coronary heart disease, diesel exhaust can reduce the amount of oxygen available to the heart during exercise, which may increase the risk of a heart attack.

Because of the overwhelming benefits of exercise on heart health, we would still encourage heart patients to exercise regularly, but preferably not when there is a lot of local traffic around. Heart patients can look out for pollution levels on their local weather forecasts.


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Contact: Tara Womersley
tara.womersley@ed.ac.uk
01-316-509-836
University of Edinburgh
Source:Eurekalert

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