BOSTON Living close to a major highway poses a significant risk to heart attack survivors, reinforcing the need to isolate housing developments from heavy traffic areas, a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center study concludes.
Writing in the May 7 edition of Circulation, researchers found heart attack survivors living less than 100 meters or 328 feet from a roadway have a 27 percent higher risk of over within 10 years than survivors living at least 1,000 meters away. That risk recedes to 13 percent for those living between 200 and 1,000-meter or 656 to 3,277-feet from the roadway.
"Living close to a highway is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes in those with underlying cardiac disease," says Murray Mittleman, MD, DrPH, a physician in the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of BIDMC's cardiovascular epidemiological research program. "Besides air pollution, exposure to noise could be a possible mechanism underlying this association."
The Onset study of 3,547 heart attack survivors in 64 community hospitals and tertiary care medical centers recorded 1,071 deaths over 10 years. Of that total, 63 percent of the patients died of cardiovascular disease, 12 percent died of cancer and 4 percent expired from respiratory disease. Researchers analyzed factors such as personal, clinical and neighborhood-level characteristics such as income and education.
"People with lower levels of education and income are more likely to live in communities closer to a major roadway, so they are bearing a larger burden of the risk associated with exposure than people with more resources," says Mittleman.
In a study published earlier this year, a team led by Mittleman found air pollution, even at levels generally considered safe by federal regulations, increases the risk of stroke by 34 percent. Exposure to ambient fine par
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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center