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Exposure to Outdoor Air Pollutants Increases Emphysema

Key clinical point: Being exposed to outdoor air pollutants was associated with increases in emphysema, assessed via CT imaging and worsening lung function.

Major finding: Ambient concentrations of ambient ozone, fine particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, and black carbon at baseline were significantly associated with greater increases in a change in percent emphysema per 10 years, as were concentrations of ambient ozone and oxides of nitrogen during follow-up.

Study details: A cohort study of 5,780 participants in six U.S. metropolitan regions who were evaluated for emphysema and lung function.

Disclosures: This article was developed under a research agreement from the Environmental Protection Agency and the University of Washington Center for Clean Air Research in Seattle. MESA was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The authors reported numerous conflicts of interest, including receiving grants and fees from the University of Washington, the EPA, the NIH, and various other pharmaceutical companies, foundations, and governmental entities.


Wang M et al. JAMA. 2019 Aug 13. doi: 10.1001/jama.2019.10255.