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Investigation of factors which might indicate susceptibility to particulate air pollution
  1. G J Prescott,
  2. R J Lee,
  3. G R Cohen,
  4. R A Elton,
  5. A J Lee,
  6. F G R Fowkes,
  7. R M Agius
  1. Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
  1. Dr R M Agius, Department of Community Health Sciences, The Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, UKRaymond.Agius{at}


OBJECTIVES To determine whether previous symptoms or recognised risk factors of cardiovascular ill health, are associated with an increased likelihood of adverse health effects related to particulate air pollution.

METHODS Cardiovascular event rates were studied relative to urban concentrations of particulate air pollution and baseline risk factors. The Edinburgh artery study consisted of a cohort of 1592 subjects aged 55–74 and was followed up to the end of March 1998 for a median of 10 years resulting in about 5 million person-days of observation. Baseline measurements included plasma fibrinogen and blood and plasma viscosity. A nested case-control approach was used to investigate a possible interaction between effects of these selected baseline risk factors and particulate air pollution, on subsequent event rates.

RESULTS During the follow up period there were 343 fatal and non-fatal myocardial infarctions or strokes. Trends in adverse cardiovascular outcomes related to pollution were identified among subjects belonging to the highest baseline quintile of plasma fibrinogen. Evidence for interactions between concentrations of particulate pollution and fibrinogen was not established at conventional levels of significance.

CONCLUSIONS People with high concentrations of plasma fibrinogen might be more susceptible to adverse cardiovascular effects of particulate air pollution, but limitations of power mean that evidence relating to such an interaction is not conclusive. A range of cardiopulmonary risk factors warrant investigation in relation to possible susceptibility to air pollution.

  • particulate pollution
  • fibrinogen
  • susceptibility
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