Air Pollution and Deep Vein Clots

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Researchers at Harvard published a study in May 2008 in the Archives of Internal Medicine that investigated the association of particulate air pollution to deep vein thrombosis, i.e. deep vein clots (1). It is well accepted that air pollution is linked to heart disease and stroke but the association with deep vein clots was unknown until this study was published.

Dr. Baccarelli and colleagues studied this phenomenon in subjects living in the Lombardy region in Italy. They examined the association of exposure to particulate matter of less than 10 microns. Using 870 patients and 1210 controls, they concluded that long-term exposure to particulate air pollution is associated with altered coagulation function and deep vein clot formation risk. Of note (and perhaps too detailed for this discussion), each increase of 10 microg/m3 in particular matter in air was associated with a 70% increase in deep vein clot (DVT) risk.

So, avoid living in cities with a significant burden of air pollution ro reduce this risk. By the way, it will also reduce your chances of developing asthma, heart disease and stroke.

1. Baccarelli A, Martinelli I, Zanobetti A, Grillo P, Hou LF, Bertazzi PA, Mannucci PM, Schwartz J. Exposure to particulate air pollution and risk of deep vein thrombosis. Archives of Internal Medicine 2008 (May 12); 168 (9): 920-927.

This chapter is from my upcoming book "Doctor, Tell Me About Vein Air Pollution and Deep Vein Clots

Article by
Buffalo General Surgeon