Objectives: The goal of this study was to investigate the short-term effect of ambient air pollution on emergency department (ED) visits in Seoul for asthma according to patients' prior history of allergic diseases. Methods: Data on ED visits from 2005 to 2009 were obtained from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service. To evaluate the risk of ED visits for asthma related to ambient air pollutants (carbon monoxide [CO], nitrogen dioxide [NO2], ozone [O3], sulfur dioxide [SO2], and particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter <10 μm [PM10]), a generalized additive model with a Poisson distribution was used; a single-lag model and a cumulative-effect model (average concentration over the previous 1-7 days) were also explored. The percent increase and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated for each interquartile range (IQR) increment in the concentration of each air pollutant. Subgroup analyses were done by age, gender, the presence of allergic disease, and season. Results: A total of 33 751 asthma attack cases were observed during the study period. The strongest association was a 9.6% increase (95% CI, 6.9% to 12.3%) in the risk of ED visits for asthma per IQR increase in O3 concentration. IQR changes in NO2 and PM10 concentrations were also significantly associated with ED visits in the cumulative lag 7 model. Among patients with a prior history of allergic rhinitis or atopic dermatitis, the risk of ED visits for asthma per IQR increase in PM10 concentration was higher (3.9%; 95% CI, 1.2% to 6.7%) than in patients with no such history. Conclusions: Ambient air pollutants were positively associated with ED visits for asthma, especially among subjects with a prior history of allergic rhinitis or atopic dermatitis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health