The impact of high temperatures on hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease has increased in the past 2 decades in Queensland, Australia, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Shanshan Li and Yuming Guo of Monash University, and their colleagues.
Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, are known risk factors for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and global climate change is increasing the duration and intensity of such temperatures.
Previous studies have found a decrease in the association between high temperatures and cardiovascular deaths, suggesting that people may have adapted to the warmer climate. In the new study, the researchers used data on 1,855,717 cardiovascular hospitalizations in Queensland between 1995 and 2016 to study the association between temperature and hospitalizations.
Between 1995 and 2016, the average daily temperature in Queensland increased from 20.9 ° C to 21.7 ° C and the annual number of cardiovascular hospitalizations increased from 46,730 to 123,477. In all ages, sexes, and climatic zones, the relative risk of cardiovascular hospitalizations associated with high temperatures increased over time, but the impact of cold temperatures decreased.
The increasing magnitude of heat impacts was greater in men than in women and greater in people younger than 70 years compared to people older than 70 years.
“Given the increased associations between high temperatures and cardiovascular hospitalization and the acceleration of global warming, we highlight a worrying trend that the burden of cardiovascular healthcare facilities increases overtime on high-temperature days,” the authors highlight.