Call for action by large CV organizations to reduce air pollution
The World Heart Federation (WHF), American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Heart Association (AHA) and European Society of Cardiology (ESC) have published a joint statement to urge the medical community and health authorities to reduce the impact of air pollution on health.
Air pollution is a key risk for CVD and contributes to the global burden of disease. In 2019, 12% of worldwide death were attributable to air pollution (either outdoor of household), with half of these due to CVD. Air pollution has now also been associated with increased mortality risk in those with COVID-19. Also, air pollution increases risk of CVD and risk of experiencing more severe consequences of COVID-19 is increased in patients with CVD.
The statement calls for actions to reduce emissions of air pollutants and harmful exposure. Furthermore, it lists some suggestions how healthcare providers can play a role in preventing illnesses related to air pollution.
Professor Stephan Achenbach, President of the European Society of Cardiology: “Air pollution is one of the most underestimated causes of heart disease and stroke. More research is urgently required to identify susceptible populations and to determine the optimal methods of improving air quality to benefit cardiovascular health. Air pollution needs to be recognized as a major modifiable risk factor in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease, and measures to reduce its detrimental short-term and long-term influence on cardiovascular health, potentially over generations, are urgently required.”