Air Filters May Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Risk

High efficiency particle air filters tied to improved endothelial function, reduced inflammation

FRIDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The use of high efficiency particle air (HEPA) filters may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with air pollution exposure, according to a study published online Jan. 21 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Ryan W. Allen, Ph.D., of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, and colleagues used portable HEPA filters in a randomized crossover intervention study of 45 healthy adult participants from 25 homes in a woodsmoke-impacted community exposed to consecutive seven-day periods of filtered and non-filtered air to assess the impact on particle exposures and endothelial function.

The investigators found that the portable HEPA filters reduced the average concentrations of fine particulates inside homes by 60 percent and woodsmoke by 75 percent. This was associated with improved endothelial function, with a 9.4 increase in reactive hyperemia index, as well as decreased inflammation, with a 32.6 percent decrease in C-reactive protein.

"Our results support the hypothesis that systemic inflammation and impaired endothelial function, both predictors of cardiovascular morbidity, can be favorably influenced by a reduction of particle concentration and add to a growing body of evidence linking short-term exposure to particulate matter with a systemic inflammatory response," Allen said in a statement. "Reducing air pollution appears to provide health benefits even if the pollution levels are already relatively low."

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