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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Special Groups at Risk:

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF):
The brilliant study featured below used large volumes of pre-existing data on hospital admissions for CHF to examine possible relationships to changes in atmospheric concentrations of CO in 7 U.S. cities (Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, and Philadelphia), 1986-1989. The findings are at once thought provoking as well as being possibly far reaching, while an explanation for the connection (ie. mechanism) between rising CO and increased admissions is difficult. Work is continuing by investigators who have examined similar phenomena in other countries and the seemingly important effect of temperature. This is probably among the first of such studies to show that segments of our population are far more sensitive to CO and other pollutants than was previously imagined.

OBJECTIVES: Pre-existing data sets were used to investigate the association between hospital admissions for CHF and air pollutants.

METHODS: Medicare hospital admissions data, ambient air pollution monitoring data, and meteorological data were used to create daily values of hospital admissions for CHF, maximum hourly temperature, and maximum hourly levels of CO, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and ozone................

RESULTS: Ambient CO levels were positively associated with hospital admissions for CHF in the single-pollutant and multipollutant models for each of the seven cities. The relative risk of hospital admission for CHF associated with an increase of 10 ppm in CO ranged from 1.10 in New York to 1.37 in Los Angeles.

CONCLUSIONS: Hospital admissions for CHF exhibited a consistent association with daily variations in ambient CO. This association was independent of season, temperature, and other major gaseous pollutants.

From: Morris, R.D., Naumova, E.N., Munasinghe, R.L. (1995) Ambient air pollution and hospitalization for congestive heart failure among elderly people in seven large US cities. Am. J. Publ. Health, 85, 1361-1365.

...... last changed 02/16/00

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