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Circulation. 2005 Nov 15;112(20):3073-9.

Ambient air pollution is associated with increased risk of hospital cardiac readmissions of myocardial infarction survivors in five European cities.

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  • 1Institute of Epidemiology, GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Neuherberg, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Circulation. 2006 Feb 7;113(5):e71.



Ambient air pollution has been associated with increases in acute morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study was to evaluate the short-term effects of urban air pollution on cardiac hospital readmissions in survivors of myocardial infarction, a potentially susceptible subpopulation.


In this European multicenter cohort study, 22,006 survivors of a first myocardial infarction were recruited in Augsburg, Germany; Barcelona, Spain; Helsinki, Finland; Rome, Italy; and Stockholm, Sweden, from 1992 to 2000. Hospital readmissions were recorded in 1992 to 2001. Ambient nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and mass of particles <10 microm (PM10) were measured. Particle number concentrations were estimated as a proxy for ultrafine particles. Short-term effects of air pollution on hospital readmissions for myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, and cardiac causes (myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, dysrhythmia, or heart failure) were studied in city-specific Poisson regression analyses with subsequent pooling. During follow-up, 6655 cardiac readmissions were observed. Cardiac readmissions increased in association with same-day concentrations of PM10 (rate ratio [RR] 1.021, 95% CI 1.004 to 1.039) per 10 microg/m3) and estimated particle number concentrations (RR 1.026 [95% CI 1.005 to 1.048] per 10,000 particles/cm3). Effects of similar strength were observed for carbon monoxide (RR 1.014 [95% CI 1.001 to 1.026] per 200 microg/m3 [0.172 ppm]), nitrogen dioxide (RR 1.032 [95% CI 1.013 to 1.051] per 8 microg/m3 [4.16 ppb]), and ozone (RR 1.026 [95% CI 1.001 to 1.051] per 15 microg/m3 [7.5 ppb]). Pooled effect estimates for angina pectoris and myocardial infarction readmissions were comparable.


The results suggest that ambient air pollution is associated with increased risk of hospital cardiac readmissions of myocardial infarction survivors in 5 European cities.

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