Air pollution associated with increased risk of emergency room admission for bleeding peptic ulcers

Exposure to elevated levels of nitric oxide (NO2) could trigger bleeding among patients with peptic ulcer, and increase the likelihood of emergency admissions, according to a study published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health. The study utilized a case-crossover study in the city's elderly population to determine the effects of differing levels of exposure in their health, particularly their gastrointestinal systems.

  • The study collected daily air pollution data from the Environmental Protection Department. The data covers all particulate matters that have an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 micrometers (μm) or less, such as nitric oxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and ozone (O3). The data used spanned from 2005 to 2010.
  • In addition, data regarding cases of emergency admission due to peptic ulcer bleeding was collected from the Hospital Authority of Hong Kong. The sampled data were from older adults aged 65 years and above, and it also covered the same time frame used in the pollution data.
  • Both sets of data were cross-referenced to measure the which particulate was present at the time where there were the most cases of emergency admissions due to peptic ulcer. The team assessed both single pollutant and multi-pollutant levels, with cardiorespiratory diseases being positive controls.
  • Results indicated that there were 8,566 emergency admissions for peptic ulcer bleeding among Hong Kong's elderly population from 2005 to 2010. Where there is an increase of NO2 concentration in the air, it resulted in a 7.6 percent rise in emergency admission for bleeding due to peptic ulcer. Other pollutants such as SO2 and O3 were not linked to the increase of cases.

With these results, researchers believe that this bolsters the claim that air pollution adversely affects not only the cardiopulmonary system, it also triggers specific diseases in the digestive system.

Find the full text of the study at this link.

 

Journal Reference:

Tian L, Qiu H, Sun S, Tsang H, Chan K-P, Leung WK. ASSOCIATION BETWEEN EMERGENCY ADMISSION FOR PEPTIC ULCER BLEEDING AND AIR POLLUTION: A CASE-CROSSOVER ANALYSIS IN HONG KONG'S ELDERLY POPULATION. The Lancet Planetary Health. 2017;1(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(17)30021-9

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