Arrhythmias can increase the risk of heart disease and sudden cardiac death.
A large new study reveals that a rise in air pollution increases the risk of arrhythmias.
The study, which was based on nearly 200,000 hospital admissions in China, found a significant increase in the risk of arrhythmias in the first few hours after air pollution levels increased.
An irregular heartbeat can increase the risk of heart disease and sudden cardiac death.
“We found that acute exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with an increased risk of symptomatic arrhythmias,” said Dr. Renjie Chen of Fudan University in Shanghai.
“The risks occurred within the first several hours after exposure (to polluted air) and could last for up to 24 hours,” he added.
A study conducted last year reported a link between fine particulate air pollution and irregular heartbeats in healthy adolescents, and confirmed that this translates into significant health risks.
The Chinese study included 190,115 patients admitted to hospitals in 322 Chinese cities with sudden cardiac arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, premature beat and supraventricular tachycardia.
Air pollution in China is well above WHO guidelines for air quality, and the researchers analyzed concentrations of six air pollutants from monitoring stations closest to reporting hospitals.