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Sitting in the Traffic May Cause Heart Problems



Another bad news for daily commuters dealing with extended traffic. According to a new study by the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, high amounts of pollution caused by car traffic can alter heart's right ventricle, changing the mass and size of the right chamber and resulting in higher risk of heart disease.

 "Although the link between traffic-related air pollution and left ventricular hypertrophy, heart failure, and cardiovascular death is established, the effects of traffic-related air pollution on the right ventricle have not been well studied," lead author Dr. Peter Leary, of the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, said in a news release. "…We were able to demonstrate for the first time that higher levels of exposure were associated with greater right ventricular mass and larger right ventricular end-diastolic volume."

The study is first of its kind to show the direct link between the pollution and its effect to right ventricle of human hearts.  The findings were published in the "Anmerican journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine".

For their study, researchers utilized cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the hearts of 3,896 people who were free of cardiovascular disease at the study’s onset.  The scientists also determined the levels of nitrous dioxide outside the participants’ homes during the year before their MRI scans.

A note in the study reported:
"Using exposure to nitrogen dioxide as a surrogate for exposure to traffic-related air pollution, we were able to demonstrate for the first time that higher levels of exposure were associated with greater right ventricular mass and larger right ventricular end-diastolic volume. Greater right ventricular mass is also associated with increased risk for heart failure and cardiovascular death."

The researchers found increased exposure to NO2 was linked with a 5% increase (about 1.0 g) in right ventricular mass and a 3% (4.1 mL) increase in right ventricular end-diastolic volume (the volume of blood in the chamber at the end of filling).

They also found similar relationships between these right ventricle changes and estimates of exposure to overall levels of oxides of nitrogen.

Dr. Leary says their findings add to a growing body of evidence supporting a connection between traffic-related air pollution and cardiovascular disease, and adds:

"The many adverse effects of air pollution on human health support continued efforts to reduce this burden."

Sitting in the Traffic May Cause Heart Problems Reviewed by Brandon Oh on 9:46 AM Rating: 5

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