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Air pollution associated with increased heart attack risk despite ‘safe’ levels

London, UK – 30 Aug 2015: Particulate matter and NO2 air pollution are associated with increased risk of severe heart attacks despite being within European recommended levels, according to research presented at ESC Congress today by Dr Jean-Francois Argacha, a cardiologist at University Hospital Brussels (UZ Brussel-Vrije Universiteit Brussel), in Belgium.1

“Dramatic health consequences of air pollution were first described in Belgium in 1930 after the Meuse Valley fog,” said Dr Argacha. “Nowadays, the World Health Organization (WHO) considers air pollution as one of the largest avoidable causes of mortality. Besides the pulmonary and carcinogenic effects of air pollution, exposition to air pollution has been associated with an increased risk in cardiovascular mortality.”

“In addition to the long term consequences, more recent research suggests that acute exposure to air pollution may trigger some cardiovascular events such as strokes, heart failure or myocardial infarction (heart attack),” continued Dr Argacha. “Myocardial infarction covers a number of clinical conditions and the effect of pollution on these subsets is unknown.”

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