Fine dust increases COPD patients’ hospitalization: study

Marian Chu  Published 2018.05.15  17:08  Updated 2018.05.15 17:08


New research has shown that fine dust raises the risk of getting the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that makes it hard to breathe.

The team, led by Professors Shim Jae-jeong and Choi Ju-hwan from the department of internal medicine at Korea University Guro Hospital, published the country's first cohort study on the subject to find fine dust to be the primary reason for the acute deterioration of COPD.

The study, conducted for two years starting in 2015, classified 374 patients who were hospitalized for COPD into four groups: good, normal, poor, and very poor.

Results showed patients who had a “normal” status were 1.6 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital than patients who were “good.” The hospitalization rate was also the highest when fine dust (PM10) pollution exceeded 30 ㎍/㎥.

Research from Korea University Guro Hospital shows fine dust is linked to COPD hospitalization.

Hospitalization rates due to COPD also peaked three days after a day with high fine dust particle concentration. The reason for the lapse of three days is most likely attributable to the time it takes for immune cells to create an abnormal inflammatory reaction after the fine dust is inhaled, the researchers said.

The hospital noted that COPD patients should be extra-careful in February to May when the fine dust concentration is the highest.

"Fine dust research has focused on asthma, acute bronchitis, and cardiovascular disease. There has been a lack of research into the exact numbers and standard for COPD. This research clarifies the relationship between COPD onset risk and fine dust,” Shim said.

The study was published in the April issue of the International Journal of COPD.

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