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Runs of Ventricular and Supraventricular Tachycardia Triggered by Air Pollution in Patients with Coronary Heart Disease

Berger, Annette MPH; Zareba, Wojciech MD, PhD, FACC; Schneider, Alexandra PhD; Rückerl, Regina MSc; Ibald-Mulli, Angela PhD; Cyrys, Josef PhD; Wichmann, H -Erich MD, PhD; Peters, Annette PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 2006 - Volume 48 - Issue 11 - p 1149-1158
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000245921.15916.03
Original Articles

Objective: The authors conducted an investigation of the association between air pollution and arrhythmia.

Methods: A prospective panel study (October 2000–April 2001) was conducted in Erfurt, Germany. Fifty-seven men with coronary heart disease were subjected to six 24-hour electrocardiogram recordings. Runs of supraventricular and ventricular tachycardia were associated with continuous ultrafine particle counts (UFP), accumulation mode particle counts (ACP), PM2.5, and gaseous pollutants. Poisson and linear regression models were applied adjusting for trend, weekday, and meteorologic data.

Results: Elevated concentrations of UFP, ACP, PM2.5, and nitrogen dioxide increased the risk for supraventricular runs and the number of ventricular runs at almost all lags. Statistically significant associations were found predominantly in the previous 24 to 71 hours and with the 5-day moving average.

Conclusion: Elevated concentrations of fine and ultrafine particle increased the risk of arrhythmia in men with coronary heart disease.

From the Institute of Epidemiology, GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health (Mrs Berger, Dr Schneider, Ms Rückerl, Dr Cyrys, Dr Wichmann, Dr Peters), Neuherberg, Germany; the Cardiology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Rochester (Dr Zareba), Rochester, New York; Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, IBE Chair of Epidemiology (Dr Ibald-Mulli, Dr Wichmann), Munich, Germany; Focus Network of Aerosols and Health, GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health (Dr Peters), Neuherberg, Germany; and the Environmental Science Center, University of Augsburg (Dr Cyrys), Augsburg, Germany.

This study was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, STAR center grant R-827354, and the Focus-Network of Aerosols and Health, GSF. The Focus-Network of Aerosols and Health coordinates and focuses all GSF research on health effects and the characterization of aerosols; it consists of research projects of the GSF Institutes of Ecological Chemistry, Epidemiology, Inhalation Biology, Radiation Protection, and Toxicology.

Address correspondence to: Alexandra Schneider, PhD, GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Ingolstaedter Landstr. 1, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany; E-mail:

©2006The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine