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PLOS ONE  2013 

Acute and Prolonged Adverse Effects of Temperature on Mortality from Cardiovascular Diseases

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082678

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Background Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death worldwide, especially for developed countries. Elevated mortality from cardiovascular diseases has been shown related to extreme temperature. We thus assessed the risk of mortality from cerebrovascular diseases, heart diseases, and ischemic heart disease (IHD) in relation to temperature profiles in four subtropical metropolitans (Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung) from 1994 to 2007 in Taiwan. Methods Distributed lag non-linear models were applied to estimate the cumulative relative risks (RRs) with confidence intervals of cause-specific mortality associated with daily temperature from lag 0 to 20 days, and specific effect of extreme temperature episodes with PM10, NOx, and O3, and other potential confounders controlled. Estimates for cause-specific mortalities were then pooled by random-effect meta-analysis. Results Comparing to centered temperature at 27°C, the cumulative 4-day (lag 0 to 3) risk of mortality was significantly elevated at 31°C for cerebrovascular diseases (RR = 1.14; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.31) and heart diseases (RR = 1.22; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.46) , but not for IHD (RR = 1.09; 95% CI: 0.99, 1.21). To the other extreme, at 15°C, the cumulative 21-day (lag 0 to 20) risk of mortality were also remarkably increased for cerebrovascular diseases, heart diseases, and IHD (RRs = 1.48 with 95% CI: 1.04, 2.12, 2.04 with 95% CI: 1.61, 2.58, and 1.62 with 95% CI: 1.30, 2.01, respectively). Mortality risks for cardiovascular diseases were generally highest on the present day (lag 0) of extreme heat. No particular finding was detected on prolonged extreme temperature event by pooling estimations for cause-specific mortality. Conclusions Low temperature was associated with greater risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases in comparison with that of high temperature. Adverse effects of extreme temperatures are acute at the beginning of exposure.


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