Long-term exposure to air pollution and hospital admissions for ischemic stroke. A register-based case-control study using modelled NOx as exposure proxy

Oudin, Anna; Stroh, Emilie; Strömberg, Ulf; Jakobsson, Kristina; Björk, Jonas
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p301
Academic Journal
Background: Long-term exposure to air pollution is a hypothesized risk factor for ischemic stroke. In a large case-control study with a complete study base, we investigated whether hospital admissions for ischemic stroke were associated with residential concentrations of outdoor NOx, as a proxy for exposure to air pollution, in the region of Scania, Southern Sweden. Methods: We used a two-phase case-control study design, including as first-phase controls all individuals born between 1923 and 1965 and residing in Scania in 2002 (N = 556 912). We defined first-phase cases as first-time ischemic stroke patients residing in Scania and registered in the Swedish stroke register between 2001 and 2005 (N = 4 904) and second-phase cases as cases for whom we had information on smoking status, diabetes, and medication for hypertension (N = 4 375). For the controls, information on these covariables was collected from a public health survey, resulting in 4 716 second-phase controls. With a geographical information system and an emission database, individual residential outdoor annual mean NOx concentration was modelled. The data were analyzed with logistic regression. Results: We found no evident association between NOx and ischemic stroke. For example, the odds ratio for ischemic stroke associated with the NOx category 20-30 μg/m³ compared to the reference category of <10 μg/m³ was 0.95 (95% CI 0.86-1.06). Conclusion: In this study area, with generally low levels of air pollution, using a complete study base, high-quality ascertainment of cases, and individually modelled exposure, we did not observe any clear association between NOx and ischemic stroke hospital admissions.


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