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Heat + Pollution May Increase Heart Attack Risk

New research in the journal Circulation found the combined effect of hot temperatures and poor air quality could double the risk of a heart attack.

A hot, hazy, smoggy day in a large city

An analysis of more than 200,000 heart attack deaths in China found that high heat and polluted air could double the risk of a fatal cardiac event, according to research published in Circulation.

The American Heart Association shared the findings as temperatures were soaring in parts of the United States and Europe.

“Our findings provide evidence that reducing exposure to both extreme temperatures and fine particulate pollution may be useful to prevent premature deaths from heart attack, especially for women and older adults,” senior author Yuewei Liu, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, said in an AHA news release.

In the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Joel Kaufman, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, said heat and poor air quality is a “double whammy” because the heart must work harder in high heat and pollution adds stress to the heart and other organs.

Read the Wall Street Journal article: Heart Attack Risk Rises Significantly on Extremely Hot, Polluted Days

The news article notes that prolonged exposure to air pollution can contribute to a rapid buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries. Many academic journal articles, including this one in an American Heart Association journal, have reported that air pollution has a negative impact on high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good cholesterol.”

CSL’s Bronwyn Kingwell recently wrote about the “next chapter” in the scientific community’s understanding of HDL and how the company’s largest-ever clinical trial may contribute to innovation.

CSL is investigating the potential of a cholesterol efflux-raising therapy that, if successful, could have transformational effects on the outlook for patients who have survived a heart attack. Research has shown that someone who survives a heart attack enters a dangerous period because, for the next 90 days, they are at increased risk of another cardiac event.

Learn more about how heart attacks occur.

Learn more about CSL’s research.