[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Emergency department (ED) visit and hospital admissions (HA) data have been an indispensible resource for assessing acute morbidity impacts of air pollution. ED visits and HAs are types of health care visits with similarities, but also potentially important differences. Little previous information is available regarding the impact of health care visit type on observed acute air pollution-health associations from studies conducted for the same location, time period, outcome definitions and model specifications.
As part of a broader study of air pollution and health in St. Louis, individual-level ED and HA data were obtained for a 6.5 year period for acute care hospitals in the eight Missouri counties of the St. Louis metropolitan area. Patient demographic characteristics and diagnostic code distributions were compared for four visit types including ED visits, HAs, HAs that came through the ED, and non-elective HAs. Time-series analyses of the relationship between daily ambient ozone and PM2.5 and selected cardiorespiratory outcomes were conducted for each visit type.
Our results indicate that, compared with ED patients, HA patients tended to be older, had evidence of greater severity for some outcomes, and had a different mix of specific outcomes. Consideration of ‘HA through ED’ appeared to more effectively select acute visits than consideration of ‘non-elective HA’. While outcomes with the strongest observed temporal associations with air pollutants tended to show strong associations for all visit types, we found some differences in observed associations for ED visits and HAs. For example, risk ratios for the respiratory disease-ozone association were 1.020 for ED visits and 1.004 for ‘HA through ED’; risk ratios for the asthma/wheeze-ozone association were 1.069 for ED visits and 1.106 for ‘HA through ED’. Several factors (e.g. age) were identified that may be responsible, in part, for the differences in observed associations.
Demographic and diagnostic differences between visit types may lead to preference for one visit type over another for some questions and populations. The strengths of observed associations with air pollutants sometimes varied between different health care visit types, but the relative strengths of association generally were specific to the pollutant-outcome combination.
Environmental Health 09/2012; 11(1). · 2.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Relationships between ambient air pollution levels during pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes have been investigated using one of three analytic approaches: ambient pollution levels have been contrasted over space, time or both space and time. Although the three approaches share a common goal, to estimate the causal effects of pollution on pregnancy outcomes, they face different challenges with respect to confounding.
A framework based on counterfactual effect definitions to examine issues related to confounding in spatial, temporal, and spatial-temporal analyses of air pollution and pregnancy outcomes is presented, and their implications for inference are discussed.
In spatial analyses, risk factors that are spatially correlated with pollution levels are confounders; the primary challenges relate to the availability and validity of risk factor measurements. In temporal analyses, where smooth functions of time are commonly used to control for confounding, concerns relate to the adequacy of control and the possibility that abrupt changes in risk might be systematically related to pollution levels. Spatial-temporal approaches are subject to challenges faced in both spatial and temporal analyses.
Each approach faces different challenges with respect to the likely sources of confounding and the ability to control for that confounding because of differences in the type, availability, and quality of information required. Thoughtful consideration of these differences should help investigators select the analytic approach that best promotes the validity of their research.
Journal of epidemiology and community health 03/2009; 63(6):500-4. · 3.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pediatric emergency room visits for asthma were studied in relation to air quality indices in a spatio-temporal investigation of approximately 130,000 visits (approximately 6,000 for asthma) to the major emergency care centers in Atlanta, Georgia, during the summers of 1993-1995. Generalized estimating equations, logistic regression, and Bayesian models were fitted to the data. In logistic regression models comparing estimated exposures of asthma cases with those of the nonasthma patients, controlling for temporal and demographic covariates and using residential zip code to link patients to spatially resolved ozone levels, the estimated relative risk per 20 parts per billion (ppb) increase in the maximum 8-hour ozone level was 1.04 (p < 0.05). The estimated relative risk for particulate matter less than or equal to 10 microm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) was 1.04 per 15 microg/m3 (p < 0.05). Exposure-response trends (p < 0.01) were observed for ozone (>100 ppb vs. <50 ppb: odds ratio = 1.23, p = 0.003) and PM10 (>60 microg/m3 vs. <20 microg/m3: odds ratio = 1.26, p = 0.004). In models with ozone and PM10, both terms became nonsignificant because of collinearity of the variables (r= 0.75). The other analytical approaches yielded consistent findings. This study supports accumulating evidence regarding the relation of air pollution to childhood asthma exacerbation.
American Journal of Epidemiology 04/2000; 151(8):798-810. · 4.78 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Substantial evidence supports an association of particulate matter (PM) with cardiorespiratory illnesses, but little is known regarding characteristics of PM that might contribute to this association and the mechanisms of action. The Atlanta superstation sponsored by the Electric Power Research Institute as part of the Aerosol Research and Inhalation Epidemiology Study (ARIES) study is monitoring chemical composition of ambient particles by size fraction, as well as a comprehensive suite of other pollutants, at a site in downtown Atlanta during the 25-month period, August 1, 1998-August 31, 2000. Our investigative team is making use of this unique resource in several morbidity studies, called the "Study of Particulates and Health in Atlanta (SOPHIA)". The study includes the following components: (1) a time series investigation of emergency department (ED) visits for the period during which the superstation is operating; (2) a time series investigation of ED visits during the 5 years prior to implementation of the superstation; and (3) a study of arrhythmic events in patients equipped with automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillators (AICDs) for the period January 1, 1993-August 31, 2000. Thirty-three of 39 Atlanta area EDs are participating in the ED studies, comprising over a million annual ED visits. In this paper, we present initial analyses of data from 18 of the 33 participating EDs. The preliminary data set includes 1,662,713 ED visits during the pre-superstation time period and 559,480 visits during the superstation time period. Visits for four case groupings--asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), dysrhythmia, and all cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) combined--have been assessed relative to daily air quality indices, controlling for long-term temporal trends and meteorologic variables, using general linear models, generalized estimating equations and generalized additive models. Single-pollutant models predicting case visitation rates using moving averages of 0-, 1-, and 2-day lagged air quality variables were run. For the pre-superstation period, PM10 (24-h), ozone (8-h), SO2 (1-h), NO2 (1-h) and CO (1-h) were studied. For the first 12 months of superstation operation, the following air quality variables of a priori interest were available: ozone (8-h), NO2 (1-h), SO2 (1-h), CO (1-h), and 24-h measurements of PM10, coarse PM (PM 2.5-10 microm), PM2.5, polar VOCs, 10-100 nm particulate count and surface area, and in the PM2.5 fraction: sulfates, acidity, water-soluble metals, organic matter (OM), and elemental carbon (EC). During the pre-superstation time period, statistically significant, positive associations were observed for adult asthma with ozone, and for COPD with ozone, NO2 and PM10. During the superstation time period, the following statistically significant, positive associations were observed: dysrhythmia with CO, coarse PM, and PM2.5 EC; and all CVDs with CO, PM2.5 EC and PM2.5 OM. While covariation of many of the air quality indices limits the informativeness of this analysis, the study provides one of the first assessments of PM components in relation to ED visits.
Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 01/2000; 10(5):446-60. · 2.72 Impact Factor