Health News: Breathing in dirty air may be linked to a higher chance of suffering a heart attack a few days afterward, according to a French analysis of past studies.
Researchers led by Hazrije Mustafic from the Paris Cardiovascular Research Center found that heart attacks were slightly more common at high levels of every main pollutant except ozone, the group reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
They looked at 34 studies comparing the risk of suffering a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, at various levels of inhaling industrial and traffic-related air pollutants including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and very small soot-like particles.
The reports included anywhere from about 400 to more than 300,000 people, with heart attacks that were confirmed in hospital records and disease and death registries.
“All the main air pollutants, with the exception of ozone, were significantly associated with a near-term increase in myocardial infarction risk,” they wrote.
For most of the pollutants, an increase in concentration of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air — the typical standard used to assess harm, and barely noticeable to a person breathing the air — was associated with a one to three percent increase in the chance of having a heart attack in the next week.