Impact of outdoor air pollution on survival after stroke: Population-based cohort study

R. Maheswaran, T. Pearson, N.C. Smeeton, C.D. Wolfe, S.D. Beevers, M.J. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose— The impact of air pollution on survival after stroke is unknown. We examined the impact of outdoor air pollution on stroke survival by studying a population-based cohort.
Methods— All patients who experienced their first-ever stroke between 1995 and 2005 in a geographically defined part of London, where road traffic contributes to spatial variation in air pollution, were followed up to mid-2006. Outdoor concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter <10 μm in diameter modeled at a 20-m grid point resolution for 2002 were linked to residential postal codes. Hazard ratios were adjusted for age, sex, social class, ethnicity, smoking, alcohol consumption, prestroke functional ability, pre-existing medical conditions, stroke subtype and severity, hospital admission, and neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation.
Results— There were 1856 deaths among 3320 patients. Median survival was 3.7 years (interquartile range, 0.1 to 10.8). Mean exposure levels were 41 μg/m3 (SD, 3.3; range, 32.2 to 103.2) for nitrogen dioxide and 25 μg/m3 (SD, 1.3; range, 22.7 to 52) for particulate matter <10 μm in diameter. A 10-μg/m3 increase in nitrogen dioxide was associated with a 28% (95% CI, 11% to 48%) increase in risk of death. A 10-μg/m3 increase in particulate matter <10 μm in diameter was associated with a 52% (6% to 118%) increase in risk of death. Reduced survival was apparent throughout the follow-up period, ruling out short-term mortality displacement.
Conclusions— Survival after stroke was lower among patients living in areas with higher levels of outdoor air pollution. If causal, a 10-μg/m3 reduction in nitrogen dioxide exposure might be associated with a reduction in mortality comparable to that for stroke units. Improvements in outdoor air quality might contribute to better survival after stroke
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-877
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


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