Air pollution linked to early death in heart attack survivors

20 February 2013

Air pollution increases the chances of heart attack survivors dying early, according to new research.

Higher levels of tiny sooty particles from road traffic emissions led to more deaths among acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients after they had left hospital.

Experts at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine studied the records of more than 154,000 people treated for heart attacks and angina between 2004 and 2007.

Exposure to man-made pollution increased death rates among survivors of ACS by 12 per cent, the researchers found, equating to nearly 5,000 extra deaths.

The research, published in the European Heart Journal, focused on PM2.5 – tiny particulate matter caused by emissions from road traffic and industry, including power generation.

Dr Cathryn Tonne, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said: "We found that for every ten microgram increase in PM2.5 per cubic metre of air, there was a 20 per cent increase in the death rate.

"For example, over one year of follow-up after patients had been admitted to hospital with acute coronary syndrome, there would be 20 per cent more deaths among patients exposed to PM2.5 levels of 20 micrograms per cubic metre of air, compared to patients exposed to levels of half that amount."

Patients living in London had the highest exposure to air pollution levels, the researchers found.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)