To inform potential pathophysiological mechanisms of air pollution effects on cardiovascular disease (CVD), we investigated short-term associations between ambient air pollution and a range of cardiovascular events from three national databases in England and Wales.
Using a time-stratified case-crossover design, over 400 000 myocardial infarction (MI) events from the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP) database, over 2 million CVD emergency hospital admissions and over 600 000 CVD deaths were linked with daily mean concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO 2), particulate matter less than 10 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM 10), particulate matter less than 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM 2.5) and sulfur dioxide (SO 2), and daily maximum of 8-hourly running mean of O 3 measured at the nearest air pollution monitoring site to the place of residence. Pollutant effects were modelled using lags up to 4 days and adjusted for ambient temperature and day of week.
For mortality, no CVD outcome analysed was clearly associated with any pollutant, except for PM 2.5 with arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation and pulmonary embolism. With hospital admissions, only NO 2 was associated with a raised risk: CVD 1.7% (95% CI 0.9 to 2.6), non-MI CVD 2.0% (1.1 to 2.9), arrhythmias 2.9% (0.6 to 5.2), atrial fibrillation 2.8% (0.3 to 5.4) and heart failure 4.4% (2.0 to 6.8) for a 10th–90th centile increase. With MINAP, only NO 2 was associated with an increased risk of MI, which was specific to non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (non-STEMIs): 3.6% (95% CI 0.4 to 6.9).