Could Particulate Matter Air Pollution be a Factor in Worsening Heart Failure?

    Presentation highlighted at HFSA 12th Annual Scientific Meeting examines
    correlation between increased air pollution rates and an increase in rates
    of heart failure among US population

    TORONTO, Sept. 22 /CNW/ -- At the Opening Plenary Session of the 12th
Annual Scientific Meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) today
Dr. Joel Kaufman, Professor of Medicine, and Director of the University of
Washington's Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program, wrapped up the
session by presenting  "Particulate Matter Air Pollution and Heart Health,"
which included evidence that fine particulate air pollution (soot) exposures
are associated with an increase in cardiovascular disease. He specifically
addressed concerns that high levels of pollution may lead to a higher
incidence of heart failure, and to hospitalizations among patients being
treated for heart failure. The scientific meeting, which began today at the
Metro Toronto Convention Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, will also feature
new research, advances in treatment and guidelines for care, debates and late
breaking clinical trials.
    "Air pollution in relation to heart failure is an important topic as the
rate of heart failure is increasing in this country and environmental factors
may be important in understanding this increase.  The association between
these emphasizes the need to further study the mechanisms through which
pollution causes and/or worsens heart disease and also means of prevention and
addresses the need for investigation to determine the correlation and possible
solutions associated with the relationship between small particle air
pollution and cardiovascular diseases," said Dr. Barry Greenberg, HFSA
President, and Professor of Medicine, and Director, Advanced Heart Failure
Treatment Program, University of California, San Diego.
    Dr. Kaufman noted that what may surprise people is that while air
pollution is normally associated with lung disorders, it actually causes heart
problems. Kaufman noted that these findings are under intense investigation.
"Of course, air pollution is inhaled first, so technically, the first place to
see effects is in the lungs.  But the data from large studies show that the
biggest effect of air pollution is on the cardiovascular system.  Thus, we are
looking at how and why it appears to fatally affect the heart instead.  Do air
pollutants trigger reactions in the lung that cause effects elsewhere in the
body, or do these pollutants go directly going into circulation after
inhalation to affect the cardiovascular system?"
    Other considerations that were presented included whether particulate air
matter has an effect on inflammation and hypertension, and if these added
stress factors are what in turn triggers heart disease as a result. Dr.
Kaufman said that it is still too early into the research on particulate air
pollution to give specific recommendations for prevention or actions to take.
But the evidence is growing that during times of heavy pollution or in places
where air pollution is most severe, complications of heart failure can get
worse for those diagnosed with the condition.
    For a complete list of annual meeting sessions or for details on
attending the conference, call (617) 226-7198 or visit and click
on Annual Scientific Meeting. There is no registration fee for accredited
journalists. Interview areas will be available on-site in addition to a
fully-staffed press room with phone and internet accessibility.
    About Heart Failure
    Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle
becomes weakened after it is injured from heart attack or high blood pressure
and gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body's
needs. Many people are not aware they have heart failure because the symptoms
are often mistaken for signs of getting older. Heart failure affects from 4.6
to 4.8 million individuals in the United States. Demographic and clinical
evidence strongly suggest the prevalence of heart failure will increase
throughout the next decade. Ten to 15 years ago heart failure was considered a
"death sentence;" however, recent advances in treatment have shown that early
diagnosis and proper care in early stages of the condition are key to slowing,
stopping or in some cases reversing progression, improving quality of life,
and extending life expectancy. For more information on heart failure, please
    About the Heart Failure Society of America
    The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) is a nonprofit educational
organization, founded in 1994 as the first organized association of heart
failure experts. Today HFSA has over 1,700 members and provides a forum for
all those interested in heart function, heart failure research and patient
care. The Society also serves as a resource for governmental agencies (FDA,
NIH, NHLBI, CMS). The HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting is designed to highlight
recent advances in the development of strategies to address the complex
epidemiological, clinical and therapeutic issues of heart failure. Additional
information on HFSA can be found at

For further information:

For further information: Kaitlyn Siner, +1-617-226-7192, cell,
+1-401-339-0954,, or Ben Hendricks,
+1-617-226-7183, cell, +1-919-522-2978,, both
for Heart Failure Society of America Web Site:       

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