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Occup Environ Med. 2012 Mar;69(3):163-9. doi: 10.1136/oem.2010.062141. Epub 2011 Jun 30.

The impact of heatwaves on mortality and emergency hospital admissions from non-external causes in Brisbane, Australia.

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1
School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Heatwaves can have significant health consequences resulting in increased mortality and morbidity. However, their impact on people living in tropical/subtropical regions remains largely unknown. This study assessed the impact of heatwaves on mortality and emergency hospital admissions (EHAs) from non-external causes (NEC) in Brisbane, a subtropical city in Australia.

METHODS:

We acquired daily data on weather, air pollution and EHAs for patients aged 15 years and over in Brisbane between January 1996 and December 2005, and on mortality between January 1996 and November 2004. A locally derived definition of heatwave (daily maximum ≥37°C for 2 or more consecutive days) was adopted. Case-crossover analyses were used to assess the impact of heatwaves on cause-specific mortality and EHAs.

RESULTS:

During heatwaves, there was a statistically significant increase in NEC mortality (OR 1.46; 95% CI 1.21 to 1.77), cardiovascular mortality (OR 1.89; 95% CI 1.44 to 2.48), diabetes mortality in those aged 75+ (OR 9.96; 95% CI 1.02 to 96.85), NEC EHAs (OR 1.15; 95% CI 1.07 to 1.23) and EHAs from renal diseases (OR 1.41; 95% CI 1.09 to 1.83). The elderly were found to be particularly vulnerable to heatwaves (eg, for NEC EHAs, OR 1.24 for 65-74-year-olds and 1.39 for those aged 75+).

CONCLUSIONS:

Significant increases in NEC mortality and EHAs were observed during heatwaves in Brisbane where people are well accustomed to hot summer weather. The most vulnerable were the elderly and people with cardiovascular, renal or diabetic disease.

PMID:
21719563
DOI:
10.1136/oem.2010.062141
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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