-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to high levels
of traffic pollution doubles the risk of organ rejection and death
in lung transplant patients, a new study suggests.
Belgian researchers tracked the health of 281 lung transplant
patients over a five-year period, and found that 117 (41 percent)
developed a serious inflammatory condition called bronchiolitis
obliterans syndrome. Of those patients, 61 died.
The syndrome, which is caused by an overactive immune system and
is the clinical equivalent of organ rejection, is common in lung
The researchers found that patients who lived within 171 meters
(187 yards) of a main road were twice as likely to develop the
syndrome and more than twice as likely to die within five years,
compared to patients who lived farther away from a main road.
The study authors also concluded that every tenfold increase in
distance from a main road was associated with a 43 percent reduced
risk of developing the syndrome and a 28 percent reduced risk of
Gender, age or type of lung transplantation (single or double)
had no effect on the risk of death.
The researchers also found that the farther patients lived from
a main road, the lower their levels of inflammatory markers.
The findings suggest that one in four cases of bronchiolitis
obliterans syndrome and 28 percent of deaths in lung transplant
patients could be attributed to living near a major road, the
"Traffic related air pollution appears to constitute a serious risk ... If confirmed by other studies, [it] has substantial clinical and public health implications," the researchers noted.
The study appears online in the journal
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
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