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Aircraft Noise and Blood Pressure in the Populations Living Near the Ciampino Airport in Rome

Ancona, Carla*; Badaloni, Chiara*; Fano, Valeria*; Fabozzi, Tina; Forastiere, Francesco*; Perucci, Carlo*SERA Study Team

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000362434.82215.9d
Abstracts: ISEE 21st Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, August 25–29, 2009: Symposium Abstracts

*Epidemiology Department ASL RME, Rome, Italy; and †CRISTAL-ARPA Lazio, Rome, Italy.


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Background and Objective:

Evidence from HYENA study suggests that aircraft noise exposure increases the risk of hypertension and that night-time aircraft noise is associated with raised blood pressure (BP). Airport traffic noise has been increasing in recent years in Ciampino (Rome) because of the large rise in low cost flights. We aimed at evaluating these associations in local residents.

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We studied a randomly selected sample of subjects aged 45–70 years who had lived in the study area for at least 5 years. Data collected via interview included personal characteristics and pharmaceutical use. BP was measured five times for each participant (three times during the interview, once before sleeping and once in the morning before getting up). We defined three aircraft noise levels (Laeq,24h <65, 65–74, and 75+ dB) using the Integrated Noise Model linked to each participant's address using a GIS. As a proxy for road traffic noise, we calculated morning rush-hour traffic volume. The effects of airport noise on hypertension (WHO 2003 definition), nocturnal and early morning BP were analysed through adjusted regression models.

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The response rate was 50%, resulting in a study population of 578 subjects. We did not find a statistically significant association between aircraft noise levels and hypertension (RR 0.72, 95%CI 0.36–1.45 for level 75+ dB vs <65 dB). However, there was an increase in nocturnal systolic pressure (5.4 mmHg, 95%CI 0.45−10.4) for subjects in the highest exposure category (75+ dB). There was no effect on nocturnal diastolic pressure or on early morning measurements.

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Our results confirm the impact of aircraft noise exposure on nocturnal systolic pressure. This effect may be related to a sympathetic nervous system response to stress and may be transient in nature.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.