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Exposure to air pollution is associated with increased deaths after heart attacks

20 February 2013

Air pollution contributes to an increased number of deaths among patients who have been admitted to hospital with heart attacks, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal.

The largest study yet to investigate the links between fine air-borne particulate matter (PM) and patient survival after hospital admission for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) found death rates increased with increased exposure to PM2.5 – tiny particles that measure 2.5 micrometers (μm) in diameter or less, approximately 30 times smaller than a human hair [2]. The amount of PM in the air is measured as micrograms per cubic meter of air (μg/m3). The main sources of PM2.5 in the UK are emissions from road traffic and industry, including power generation.

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