(HealthDay News) – For individuals hospitalized with acute coronary syndrome (ACS), exposure to higher levels of air pollution, specifically particulate matter with a diameter of ≤2.5µm (PM2.5), correlates with increased all-cause mortality, according to a study published online Feb. 19 in the European Heart Journal.

Cathryn Tonne, MPH, ScD, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Paul Wilkinson, MBBS, from King’s College London, used data from the Myocardial Ischemia National Audit Project for England and Wales to examine the correlation between long-term exposure to air pollution with all-cause mortality. Participants included 154,204 patients admitted to hospital with acute coronary syndrome.

During an average follow-up of 3.7 years, the researchers identified 39,863 deaths. Individuals exposed to higher levels of PM2.5 had increased mortality (fully adjusted hazard ratio for a 10µg/m³ increase in PM2.5, 1.2). There was no correlation for large particles or nitrogen oxides. The socioeconomic disparities in survival were explained to a small extent by air pollution.

“Mortality from all causes was higher among individuals with greater exposure to PM2.5 in survivors of hospital admission for ACS in England and Wales,” the authors write. “Despite higher exposure to PM2.5 among those from more deprived areas, such exposure was a minor contribution to the socioeconomic inequalities in prognosis following ACS.”

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