1999 Progress Report: Cardiovascular Vulnerability to Particulate Pollution

EPA Grant Number: R826780
Title: Cardiovascular Vulnerability to Particulate Pollution
Institution: Harvard University , Brigham and Women's Hospital, Inc.
Current Institution: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: October 1, 1998 through September 30, 2001
Project Period Covered by this Report: October 1, 1998 through September 30, 1999
Project Amount: $648,227
RFA: Health Effects of Particulate Matter and Associated Air Pollutants (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Health Effects , Air , Particulate Matter


The purpose of this research was to examine whether fine particle (PM2.5) exposure in susceptible adults results in similar changes in cardiovascular function as reflected in changes in blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate regularity, and ECG intervals and morphology; particularly in measures of myocardial conductance, repolarization, and irritability. Specifically, a time series epidemiologic study involving repeated monitoring of adults was proposed to evaluate whether measures of cardiovascular function vary as air pollution varies.

Progress Summary:

Of 38 active adults ages 60?90 who were screened in March?May 1998, for study eligibility, 27 were selected to participate in the community-based panel. These participants were evaluated in June?September, during the summer periods. Once per week for 12 weeks, the participants answered a questionnaire regarding cardiac and respiratory symptoms and changes in medication use. They received ECG Holter monitoring for a 25-minute period, involving 5 minutes of rest supine, 5 minutes of standing upright, 5 minutes of exercise, 5 minutes of recovery, and 5 minutes of slow breathing. Supine, upright, and post exercise blood pressure, continuous heart rate, and oximetry also were monitored. Continuous measures of PM2.5, PM10, ozone, CO, NO2, and SO2 were performed at nearby monitoring sites. Indoor continuous measures of CO and PM2.5 were performed at the study site. Questionnaire data were entered and verified. Electrophysiologic outcomes of interest will include ECG repolarization abnormalities, ventricular premature beats, measures of heart rate variability, and PR and QT intervals. Through work by Dr. Bruce Nearing in concert with Drs. Verrier, Stone, and Gold, programs have been developed for the reading of the Holter Monitor data to summarize time domain and frequency domain heart rate variability outcomes and ST segment changes.

Future Activities:

Planning is under way for recruitment and screening of participants for the next summer study, which will include additional measures of indoor home exposure to particles.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 15 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

air pollution, cardiovascular, particulate matter., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, Geographic Area, particulate matter, air toxics, Health Risk Assessment, Epidemiology, State, Risk Assessments, Disease & Cumulative Effects, Biochemistry, tropospheric ozone, Atmospheric Sciences, ambient aerosol, health effects, particle size, particulates, cardiac arrhythmia, air pollutants, cardiopulmonary responses, effects assessment, fine particles, human health effects, PM 2.5, exposure and effects, cardiovascular vulnerability, heart rate variability, ozone, air pollution, Massachusetts (MA), chronic health effects, human exposure, particulate exposure, Acute health effects, environmental stressors, harmful environmental agents, ambient particulates, blood pressure, mortality, hyperadrenergic, cardiac arrhythmias, exposure assessment, heart rate

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2000 Progress Report
  • Final Report