Improved assessment of exposure to regional and traffic-related pollutants and relationship to cardiac arrhythmia

Numerous studies over the last decade have associated air pollution with deaths. While many of those studies showed air pollution leads to respiratory disease, some research indicates air pollution-related deaths may involve cardiovascular conditions. The research suggests that people with chronic cardiovascular diseases are particularly susceptible to air pollution’s adverse health effects. Kira Rich is investigating the impact of air pollution on patients with cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rate) who have implanted cardiac defibrillators. The defibrillators record the timing and duration of heart rhythm disturbances, and the data is regularly downloaded. Kira is comparing the information to air pollution data for Greater Vancouver to determine whether increases in air pollution correlate with increased risk of cardiac rhythm disturbances. She is also analyzing exposure to air pollutant concentrations at different sites to measure the effect on cardiac health.