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A panel study in congestive heart failure to estimate the short-term effects from personal factors and environmental conditions on oxygen saturation and pulse rate
  1. M S Goldberg1,2,
  2. N Giannetti1,
  3. R T Burnett3,
  4. N E Mayo1,2,
  5. M-F Valois1,2,
  6. J M Brophy1,2
  1. 1
    Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
  2. 2
    Division of Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec
  3. 3
    Biostatistics and Epidemiology Division, Safe Environments Directorate, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
  1. Mark Goldberg, Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University Health Centre, 687 Pine Avenue West, R4.29, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1A1; mark.goldberg{at}


Objectives: Recent studies suggest that persons with congestive heart failure (CHF) may be at higher risk for short-term effects of air pollution. This daily diary panel study in Montreal, Quebec, was carried out to determine whether oxygen saturation and pulse rate were associated with selected personal factors, weather conditions and air pollution.

Methods: Thirty-one subjects with CHF participated in this study in 2002 and 2003. Over a 2-month period, the investigators measured their oxygen saturation, pulse rate, weight and temperature each morning and recorded these and other data in a daily diary. Air pollution and weather conditions were obtained from fixed-site monitoring stations. The study made use of mixed regression models, adjusting for within-subject serial correlation and temporal trends, to determine the association between oxygen saturation and pulse rate and personal and environmental variables. Depending on the model, we accounted for the effects of a variety of personal variables (eg, body temperature, salt consumption) as well as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone, maximum temperature and change in barometric pressure at 8:00 from the previous day.

Results: In multivariable analyses, the study found that oxygen saturation was reduced when subjects reported that they were ill, consumed salt, or drank liquids on the previous day and had higher body temperatures on the concurrent day (only the latter was statistically significant). Relative humidity and decreased atmospheric pressure from the previous day were associated with oxygen saturation. In univariate analyses, there was negative associations with concentrations of fine particulates, ozone, and sulphur dioxide (SO2), but only SO2 was significant after adjustment for the effects of weather. For pulse rate, no associations were found for the personal variables and in univariate analyses the study found positive associations with NO2, fine particulates (aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 μm or under, PM2.5), SO2, and maximum temperature, although only the latter two were significant after adjustment for environmental effects.

Conclusions: The findings from the present investigation suggest that personal and environmental conditions affect intermediate physiological parameters that may affect the health of CHF patients.

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  • ▸ Additional data for Table 1 published online only at

  • Funding: This study was supported financially through the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). MSG gratefully acknowledges receipt of an Investigator Award from the CIHR.

  • Competing interests: None declared.