Occupational Exposures and Cardiac Structure and Function: ECHO-SOL (Echocardiographic Study of Latinos)

J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Sep;9(17):e016122. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.120.016122. Epub 2020 Aug 26.


Background Our objective was to determine associations of occupational exposures with cardiac structure and function in Hispanic/Latino adults. Methods and Results Employed participants were included (n=782; 52% women, mean age 52.9 years). Occupational exposures to burning wood, vehicle exhaust, solvents, pesticides, and metals at the current and longest-held job were assessed by questionnaire. Survey multivariable linear regression analyses were used to model the relationship of each self-reported exposure with echocardiographic measures of cardiac structure and function. Exposure to burning wood at the current job was associated with decreased left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (-3.1%; standard error [SE], 1.0 [P=0.002]). When the analysis was restricted to exposure at the longest-held job, occupational exposure to burning wood was associated with increased LV diastolic volume (6.7 mL; SE, 1.6 [P<0.0001]), decreased LV ejection fraction (-2.7%; SE, 0.6 [P<0.0001]), worse LV global longitudinal strain (1.0%; SE, 0.3 [P=0.0009]), and decreased right ventricular fractional area change (-0.02; SE, 0.004 [P<0.001]). Exposure to pesticides was associated with worse average global longitudinal strain (0.8%; SE, 0.2 [P<0.0001]). Exposure to metals was associated with worse global longitudinal strain in the 2-chamber view (1.0%; SE, 0.5 [P=0.04]), increased stroke volume (3.6 mL; SE, 1.6 [P=0.03]), and increased LV mass indexed to BSA (9.2 g/m2; SE, 3.8 [P=0.01]) or height (4.4 g/m2.7; SE, 1.9 [P=0.02]). Conclusions Occupational exposures to burning wood, vehicle exhaust, pesticides, and metals were associated with abnormal parameters of LV and right ventricular systolic function. Reducing exposures to toxic chemicals and particulates in the workplace is a potential opportunity to prevent cardiovascular disease in populations at risk.

Keywords: air pollution; echocardiography; environmental medicine; occupational medicine.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diastole / physiology
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke Volume / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / statistics & numerical data
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / physiopathology


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational