Particulate matter and air pollution in Korea are becoming worse. There is a lack of research regarding the impact of particulate matter on patients with COPD. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of various air pollution factors, including particulate matter, on the incidence rate of severe acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD) events.
We analyzed the relationship between air pollutants and AECOPD events that required hospitalization at Guro Hospital in Korea from January 1, 2015 to May 31, 2017. We used general linear models with Poisson distribution and log-transformation to obtain adjusted relative risk (RR). We conducted further analysis through the Comprehensive Air-quality Index (CAI) that is used in Korea.
Among various other air pollutants, particulate matter was identified as a major source of air pollution in Korea. When the CAI score was over 50, the incidence rate of severe AECOPD events was statistically significantly higher [RR 1.612, 95% CI, 1.065–2.440, P=0.024]. Additionally, the particulate matter levels 3 days before hospitalization were statistically significant [RR 1.003, 95% CI, 1.001–1.005, P=0.006].