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Smog Contributes to Dangerous Heart Rhythm Disorders

Smog Contributes to Dangerous Heart Rhythm Disorders

01/04/11

TUESDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The role that air pollution plays in heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) that can cause sudden death may be underestimated, according to researchers.

A small study of 25 healthy people without heart disease found detectable changes in the heart's electrical system when the participants were exposed to polluted air.

The findings suggest that air pollution may interfere with the heart's ability to reset its electrical properties in an orderly manner, said the researchers. This can lead to arrhythmias, which can cause sudden cardiac death in some people.

The fact that air pollution can have this effect on healthy people indicates that people with heart disease may be at even greater risk from air pollution than previously believed, the study authors said.

They called for more research into the link between air pollution and arrhythmias, along with greater physician awareness and participation in efforts to increase public knowledge about the danger and to reduce air pollution.

The study appears in the Jan. 11 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has more about air pollution and cardiovascular disease.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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