Smog and arrhythmia: the heart is affected by fine dust. A study of a team of cardiologists from Parma says so

Pollution, especially fine particles, is a major contributor to fatal arrhythmias, soon after high blood pressure, smoking and poor diet, and long before high cholesterol, weight gain, physical inactivity, alcohol abuse and poor diet.

For two years, the world’s cardiologists (and in particular a working group from Boston) have been sounding the alarm, after the nefarious effects of smog on health have preoccupied for decades with pulmonologists and oncologists. But now a joint study by specialists from Parma and Piacenza to put pen to paper, and the numbers come in handy, arrives that smog is responsible for one in five deaths from heart disease.

The study was coordinated by Daniela Acchieri, head of the cardiology department at Piacenza Hospital, Giampaolo Nicoli, professor of cardiology at our university, as well as Luca Moderato and David Lazzeroni from the Cardiovascular Prevention Center of Casa della Salute. Parma Center – Don Gnocchi & Ausl Foundation.

Two studies examined cardiovascular risk in relation to environmental pollution.

The first study examined daily urban data for pollutants detected by Arpa controllers in Piacenza from 2011 to 2017 with data on the use of defibrillators located in the area and 118 interventions for cardiac arrest (880 in the period under consideration).

The choice of Piacenza was quickly explained: “It is, like Parma, one of the most polluted regions in Europe and has the largest number of defibrillators in the country,” explains Lazzeroni.

The second study followed 136 people using an implantable defibrillator for five years, and recorded the arrhythmia responsible for cardiac arrest.

The results of the two studies were identical: “The risk of fatal arrhythmias increases, on average, by 37-38% on days when the level of contamination exceeds the safety limits set by the World Health Organization, and in particular increases with increasing concentrations of 2.5 and 10.” Evening, regardless of alarm thresholds which, in the European Union, are among the highest in the world.”

Cardiologists’ hypothesis is that inhalation of pollutants increases inflammation and activity of the sympathetic nervous system, leading to the release of catecholamines, mechanisms that would contribute to an increased risk of arrhythmias.

Previous studies (also conducted by Professor Nicoli) have also linked smog to heart attacks caused by coronary thrombosis.

The joint study by the Universities of Parma and Piacenza – presented at the Heart Failure Conference of the European Society of Cardiology, held in Madrid, virtually, from May 21-24, and published on June 13 on Netscape – had a great resonance in many newspapers and websites The world, especially in dozens of Indian and Chinese newspapers, are two countries that face massive pollution, especially in large cities.

“Our study indicates, says Lazzeroni, that the green transition represents a great opportunity to save not only our planet but also those who live there. It is therefore very important that the policy work hand in hand with the scientific community to win the battle against pollution through which the number of visits to the cardiovascular emergency room can be reduced by about 20%.”

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