(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers have found that tiny particulate matter in the air can cause abnormal heart rhythms in healthy teenagers. The results are published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The researchers analyzed the health data of 322 teenagers living in the United States. The participants did not have serious cardiovascular disease, and they all had a low risk of irregular heart rhythms.
Teenagers inhaled air with particles less than 2.5 microns using a nephelometer. The scientists then tracked each teenager’s heart rate for 24 hours using a small wearable device called a Holter monitor.
79% of participants had at least one heart rhythm disorder.
40% had only atrial premature beats, 12% had only ventricular premature beats, and 48% had both.
Single violations of the heart rhythm, accumulating, can lead to the occurrence of a permanent arrhythmia.
Many arrhythmias do not manifest themselves in any way, and most patients do not require medical attention.
And yet, in rare cases, an irregular heart rhythm can lead to sudden cardiac death, even in young healthy people.
Identification of controllable risk factors will minimize the incidence of arrhythmias among adolescents.
Particles smaller than 2.5 microns can be easily inhaled and enter the bloodstream through the lungs. They are released into the atmosphere during the combustion of fuel or due to forest fires.
The concentration of particles used by the scientists was two times lower than allowed by the standards set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The results of the work may lead to a revision of the maximum permissible concentrations.
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