The short-term effect of air pollution on cardiovascular mortality in Tianjin, China: comparison of time series and case-crossover analyses

Sci Total Environ. 2010 Dec 15;409(2):300-6. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.10.013. Epub 2010 Nov 4.


Background: Many studies have illustrated that ambient air pollution negatively impacts on health. However, little evidence is available for the effects of air pollution on cardiovascular mortality (CVM) in Tianjin, China. Also, no study has examined which strata length for the time-stratified case-crossover analysis gives estimates that most closely match the estimates from time series analysis.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to estimate the effects of air pollutants on CVM in Tianjin, China, and compare time-stratified case-crossover and time series analyses.

Method: A time-stratified case-crossover and generalized additive model (time series) were applied to examine the impact of air pollution on CVM from 2005 to 2007. Four time-stratified case-crossover analyses were used by varying the stratum length (Calendar month, 28, 21 or 14 days). Jackknifing was used to compare the methods. Residual analysis was used to check whether the models fitted well.

Results: Both case-crossover and time series analyses show that air pollutants (PM(10), SO(2) and NO(2)) were positively associated with CVM. The estimates from the time-stratified case-crossover varied greatly with changing strata length. The estimates from the time series analyses varied slightly with changing degrees of freedom per year for time. The residuals from the time series analyses had less autocorrelation than those from the case-crossover analyses indicating a better fit.

Conclusion: Air pollution was associated with an increased risk of CVM in Tianjin, China. Time series analyses performed better than the time-stratified case-crossover analyses in terms of residual checking.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • China
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Humans
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / analysis
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Sulfur Dioxide / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Nitrogen Dioxide