rss
Thorax 62:780-785 doi:10.1136/thx.2006.076166
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Temporal relationship between air pollutants and hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Hong Kong

  1. Fanny W S Ko1,
  2. Wilson Tam2,
  3. Tze Wai Wong3,
  4. Doris P S Chan1,
  5. Alvin H Tung1,
  6. Christopher K W Lai1,
  7. David S C Hui1
  1. 1Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong
  2. 2Nethersole School of Nursing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong
  3. 3Department of Community and Family Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr David S C Hui
    Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, 30–32 Ngan Shing Street, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong; dschui{at}cuhk.edu.hk
  • Received 5 December 2006
  • Accepted 4 February 2007
  • Published Online First 20 February 2007

Abstract

Aims: To assess any relationship between the levels of ambient air pollutants and hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Hong Kong.

Methods: A retrospective ecological study was undertaken. Data of daily emergency hospital admissions to 15 major hospitals in Hong Kong for COPD and indices of air pollutants (sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), particulates with an aerodynamic diameter of <10 μm (PM10) and 2.5 μm (PM2.5)) and meteorological variables from January 2000 to December 2004 were obtained from several government departments. Analysis was performed using generalised additive models with Poisson distribution, adjusted for the effects of time trend, season, other cyclical factors, temperature and humidity. Autocorrelation and overdispersion were corrected.

Results: Significant associations were found between hospital admissions for COPD with all five air pollutants. Relative risks for admission for every 10 μg/m3 increase in SO2, NO2, O3, PM10 and PM2.5 were 1.007, 1.026, 1.034, 1.024 and 1.031, respectively, at a lag day ranging from lag 0 to cumulative lag 0–5. In a multipollutant model, O3, SO2 and PM2.5 were significantly associated with increased admissions for COPD. SO2, NO2 and O3 had a greater effect on COPD admissions in the cold season (December to March) than during the warm season.

Conclusion: Ambient concentrations of air pollutants have an adverse effect on hospital admissions for COPD in Hong Kong, especially during the winter season. This might be due to indoor exposure to outdoor pollution through open windows as central heating is not required in the mild winter. Measures to improve air quality are urgently needed.

Footnotes

  • Published Online First 20 February 2007

  • Funding: None.

  • Competing interests: None.