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Original article
Effects of occupational exposure to respirable quartz dust on acute myocardial infarction
  1. Johannes Gellissen,
  2. Dagmar Pattloch,
  3. Matthias Möhner
  1. Work and Health, Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Berlin, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Matthias Möhner, Work and Health, Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Berlin 10317, Germany; Moehner.Matthias{at}


Objectives The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of occupational exposure to respirable quartz (RQ) on first acute myocardial infarction (AMI). RQ causes pulmonary diseases like silicosis and has also been linked to cardiovascular diseases. Inflammation is hypothesised as the underlying pathway.

Methods We performed a 1:3 matched case–control study nested in a cohort of male uranium miners. We included cases (identified from hospital records and validated according to WHO criteria) who had suffered their first AMI while still employed and <65 years of age. Controls were matched by date of birth and Wismut recruitment era. RQ exposure was derived from a job-exposure matrix. We performed a conditional logistic regression adjusted for smoking, metabolic syndrome and baseline erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Subgroups by date of birth and Wismut recruitment era were analysed to minimise the impact of pre-exposures.

Results The study base comprised 292 matched sets. The cumulative exposure ranged from 0 to 38.9 mg/m3-years RQ. The adjusted OR of the highest RQ tertile (>14.62 mg/m3-years) was 1.27 (95% CI 0.82 to 1.98). However, for miners born after 1928 and hired in the earliest recruitment era (1946–1954), a significantly elevated risk was seen in the highest RQ tertile (OR=6.47 [95% CI 1.33 to 31.5]; 50 matched sets).

Conclusions An impact of quartz dust on first AMI was observed only in a small subgroup that had virtually no pre-exposure to RQ. Further studies on the basis of complete occupational history are required to substantiate this finding.

  • acute myocardial infarction
  • respirable quartz
  • nested case–control study
  • epidemiology
  • dusts

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  • Contributors JG and MM conceived the research question. JG checked the medical records of all study subjects and verified all AMI diagnoses. DP supervised the data collection, programmed the study database and carried out quality controls. MM performed the statistical analysis. JG wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors revised it critically and approved the final version. MM is responsible for the overall content as guarantor.

  • Funding This work was done within the normal activities of all authors without any sponsoring.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The data protection officer of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Institutional Review Board approved the study design.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.