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Circulation. 2007 Jul 31;116(5):489-96. Epub 2007 Jul 16.

Residential exposure to traffic is associated with coronary atherosclerosis.

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  • 1Institute for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, University Hospital Essen, Hufelandstrasse 55, 45122 Essen, Germany. barbara.hoffmann@uk-essen.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Long-term exposure to fine-particulate-matter (PM2.5) air pollution may accelerate the development and progression of atherosclerosis. We investigated the associations of long-term residential exposure to traffic and fine particulate matter with the degree of coronary atherosclerosis.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

We used baseline data on 4494 participants (age 45 to 74 years) from the German Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study, a population-based, prospective cohort study that started in 2000. To assess exposure differences, distances between residences and major roads were calculated, and annual fine particulate matter concentrations, derived from a small-scale dispersion model, were assigned to each address. The main outcome was coronary artery calcification (CAC) assessed by electron-beam computed tomography. We evaluated the association between air pollution and CAC with logistic and linear regression analyses, controlling for individual level risk factors of coronary atherosclerosis. Compared with participants living >200 m away from a major road, participants living within 50, 51 to 100, and 101 to 200 m had odds ratios of 1.63 (95% CI, 1.14 to 2.33), 1.34 (95% CI, 1.00 to 1.79), and 1.08 (95% CI, 0.85 to 1.39), respectively, for a high CAC (CAC above the age- and gender-specific 75th percentile). A reduction in the distance between the residence and a major road by half was associated with a 7.0% (95% CI, 0.1 to 14.4) higher CAC. Fine particulate matter exposure was associated with CAC only in subjects who had not been working full-time for at least 5 years.

CONCLUSIONS:

Long-term residential exposure to high traffic is associated with the degree of coronary atherosclerosis.

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