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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAlbany: Extreme Heat Exposure in the Summer Increases Risk of CVD-Related Emergency Room Visits

A team of researchers including Drs. Benjamin Shaw, Wangjian Zhang, Elizabeth Vásquez, and Shao Lin recently published their study regarding the impact of extremely hot days on emergency visits related to Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) among older adults in New York. Their results, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, show an increased risk of emergency room (ER) visits for CVD due to hot summer days.

ER visit information was acquired from the New York State Department of Health’s Statewide Planning and Research Cooperation System for 416,707 individuals aged 65 and older. Specifically, visits between the months of April and October from 2005 to 2013 were examined. Weather data, including daily mean temperature, dew point temperature, and barometric pressure, were obtained from the National Climatic Data Center. The researchers linked the two data sets and assessed the association between summer heat and CVD.

A significantly positive association was found between hot days and ER visits due to CVD. The extreme heat had an immediate effect on those with Ischemic Heart Disease, while it took approximately 5-6 days for those with hypertensive and cardiac dysrhythmia to be impacted. When breaking down the population based on geographic location within New York, those living in Long Island had a higher risk of emergency room visits compared to those in other regions.

Since CVD remains a leading cause of death and a major cause of hospital admission around the world, it is important to study how extreme heat may play a role in ER visits for those diagnosed with the disease. In addition, older adults are more susceptible to heat, making this population a critical one for further study.

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