Researchers at Rice University in Houston have found a direct correlation between out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and levels of air pollution and ozone. Their work has prompted more CPR training in at-risk communities.
Rice statisticians Katherine Ensor and Loren Raun announced their findings Sunday, 17 February, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Boston.
Their research, based on a massive data set unique to Houston, was published this month in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
At the same AAAS symposium, Rice environmental engineer Daniel Cohan discussed how uncertainties in air-quality models might impact efforts to achieve anticipated new ozone standards by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Given that the American Lung Association has ranked Houston eighth in the United States for high-ozone days, the Rice researchers set out to see if there is a link between ambient ozone levels and cardiac arrest. Ensor is a professor and chair of Rice's department of statistics, and Raun is a research professor in Rice's department of statistics.
For the new study, the authors analyzed eight years' worth of data drawn from Houston's extensive network of air-quality monitors and more than 11,000 concurrent out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (cardiac arrests) logged by Houston Emergency Medical Services (EMS).