Assessing Variability in the Impacts of Heat on Health Outcomes in New York City Over Time, Season, and Heat-Wave Duration
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While the impacts of heat upon mortality and morbidity have been frequently studied, few studies have examined the relationship between heat, morbidity, and mortality across the same events. This research assesses the relationship between heat events and morbidity and mortality in New York City for the period 1991–2004. Heat events are defined based on oppressive weather types as determined by the Spatial Synoptic Classification. Morbidity data include hospitalizations for heat-related, respiratory, and cardiovascular causes; mortality data include these subsets as well as all-cause totals. Distributed-lag models assess the relationship between heat and health outcome for a cumulative 15-day period following exposure. To further refine analysis, subset analyses assess the differences between early- and late-season events, shorter and longer events, and earlier and later years. The strongest heat–health relationships occur with all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and heat-related hospital admissions. The impacts of heat are greater during longer heat events and during the middle of summer, when increased mortality is still statistically significant after accounting for mortality displacement. Early-season heat waves have increases in mortality that appear to be largely short-term displacement. The impacts of heat on mortality have decreased over time. Heat-related hospital admissions have increased during this time, especially during the earlier days of heat events. Given the trends observed, it suggests that a greater awareness of heat hazards may have led to increased short-term hospitalizations with a commensurate decrease in mortality.
Keywordsheat waves extreme weather events environmental epidemiology comparative risk assessment climatology
This study was supported in part by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control U01EH000396.
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