Weather-induced ischemia and arrhythmia in patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation: another difference between men and women
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- Schneider, A., Schuh, A., Maetzel, FK. et al. Int J Biometeorol (2008) 52: 535. doi:10.1007/s00484-008-0144-9
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Given the accumulating evidence that people with underlying heart disease are a particularly vulnerable group for triggers like changing meteorological parameters, the objective of this longitudinal study was to analyze the influence of weather parameters on blood pressure, arrhythmia and ischemia in cardiovascular patients. A panel study with repeated measurements was conducted in a rehabilitation clinic in Timmendorfer Strand (Baltic Sea, Germany) with 872 cardiovascular patients. Heart rate, blood pressure and electrocardiography changes were measured during repeated bicycle ergometries. Generalized Estimating Equations were used for regression analyses of immediate, delayed and cumulative influences of the daily measured meteorological data. For men, a decrease in air temperature and in water vapor pressure doubled the risk of ST-segment depression during ergometry [odds ratio (OR) for 1 day delay: 1.88 (1.24; 2.83) for air temperature] with a delay of 1–2 days. For women, an increase of their heart rate before the start of the ergometry [same day: 4.36 beats/min (0.99; 7.74) for air temperature] and a 2- to 3-fold higher risk for ventricular ectopic beats [1 day delay: OR 2.43 (1.17; 5.05) for air temperature] was observed with an increase in temperature and water vapor pressure in almost all analyzed time-windows. The study indicates that meteorological parameters can induce changes in heart function which may lead to adverse cardiovascular events especially in susceptible, diseased individuals. The observed effect on ST-segment depression could be a link between the association of weather changes and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.