Background: While the effects of weather and in particular ambient temperature on overall mortality are well documented, the strength of the evidence base for the effects on acute myocardial infarction (MI) are less clear. We aimed to systematically review studies specifically focussing on the effects of temperature on this outcome.
Methods and results: We searched for studies of original data in which ambient temperature was an exposure of interest, and MI a specific outcome, using the databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, and GEOBASE, as well as reference lists, and the websites of a number of relevant public organisations. 19 studies were identified, of which 14 considered the short-term effects of temperature on a daily timescale, the remainder looking at longer term effects. Overall, 8 of the 12 studies which included relevant data from the winter season reported a statistically significant short-term increased risk of MI at lower temperatures, while increases in risk at higher temperatures were reported in 7 out of the 13 studies with relevant data. We identified a number of differences between studies in terms of population included and demographics, location, local climate, study design, and statistical methodology.
Conclusions: A number of studies, including some that were large and relatively well-controlled, suggested detrimental effects of both hot and cold weather on the risk of MI. However there is a need for further research with consistent methodology to further elucidate the magnitude of these effects and to reveal which populations and individuals are vulnerable.
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