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Original research article
Household air pollution and measures of blood pressure, arterial stiffness and central haemodynamics

Abstract

Objective We evaluated the exposure–response associations between personal exposure to air pollution from biomass stoves and multiple vascular and haemodynamic parameters in rural Chinese women.

Methods We analysed the baseline information from a longitudinal study in southwestern China. Women’s brachial and central blood pressure and pulse pressure, carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and augmentation index, and their 48-hour personal exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon were measured in summer and winter. We evaluated the associations between exposure to air pollution and haemodynamic parameters using mixed-effects regression models adjusted for known cardiovascular risk factors.

Results Women’s (n=205, ages 27–86 years) exposures to PM2.5 and black carbon ranged from 14 µg/m3 to 1405 µg/m3 and 0.1–121.8 µg/m3, respectively. Among women aged ≥50 years, increased PM2.5 exposure was associated with higher systolic (brachial: 3.5 mm Hg (P=0.05); central: 4.4 mm Hg (P=0.005)) and diastolic blood pressure (central: 1.3 mm Hg (P=0.10)), higher pulse pressure (peripheral: 2.5 mm Hg (P=0.05); central: 2.9 mm Hg (P=0.008)) and lower peripheral–central pulse pressure amplification (−0.007 (P=0.04)). Among younger women, the associations were inconsistent in the direction of effect and not statistically significant. Increased PM2.5 exposure was associated with no difference in pulse wave velocity and modestly higher augmentation index though the CI included zero (1.1%; 95% CI −0.2% to 2.4%). Similar associations were found for black carbon exposure.

Conclusions Exposure to household air pollution was associated with higher blood pressure and central haemodynamics in older Chinese women, with no associations observed with pulse wave velocity.

  • peripheral vascular disease
  • cardiac risk factors and prevention
  • epidemiology
  • global health

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