Exposure of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients to particles: respiratory and cardiovascular health effects

J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol. 2001 Nov-Dec;11(6):490-500. doi: 10.1038/sj.jea.7500195.


To examine hypotheses regarding air pollution health effects, we conducted an exploratory study to evaluate relationships between personal and ambient concentrations of particles with measures of cardiopulmonary health in a sample of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Sixteen currently non-smoking COPD patients (mean age=74) residing in Vancouver were equipped with a particle (PM(2.5)) monitor for seven 24-h periods. Subjects underwent ambulatory heart monitoring, had their lung function and blood pressure (BP) measured, and recorded symptoms and medication use. Ambient PM(2.5), PM(10), sulfate, and gaseous pollutant concentrations were monitored at five sites within the study area. Although no associations between air pollution and lung function were statistically significant, an estimated effect of 3% and 1% declines in daily FEV(1) change (DeltaFEV(1)) for each 10 microg/m(3) increase in ambient PM(10) and PM(2.5), respectively, was observed. Increases of 1 microg/m(3) in personal or ambient sulfate were associated with 1.0% and 0.3% declines in DeltaFEV(1), respectively. Weak associations were observed between particle concentrations and increased supraventricular ectopic heartbeats and with decreased systolic BP. No consistent associations were observed between any particle metric and diastolic BP, heart rate, or heart rate variability (r-MSSD or SDNN), symptom severity, or bronchodilator use. Of the pollutants measured, ambient PM(10) was most consistently associated with health parameters; the use of personal exposures did not improve the strength of any associations or lead to increased effect estimates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Particle Size
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Sulfates / adverse effects


  • Air Pollutants
  • Sulfates