Temperature and Cardiovascular Deaths in the US Elderly: Changes Over Time

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Background:Short-term changes in temperature have been associated with cardiovascular deaths. This study examines changes in this association over time among the US elderly.Methods:Daily cardiovascular mortality counts from 107 cities in the US National Morbidity and Mortality Air Pollution Study were regressed against daily temperature using the case-crossover method. Estimates were averaged by time and season using a meta-analysis.Results:In summer 1987 the average increase in cardiovascular deaths due to a 10°F increase in temperature was 4.7%. By summer 2000, the risk with higher temperature had disappeared (−0.4%). In contrast, an increase in temperature in fall, winter and spring was associated with a decrease in deaths, and this decrease remained constant over time.Conclusions:Heat-related cardiovascular deaths in the elderly have declined over time, probably due to increased use of air conditioning, while increased risks with cold-related temperature persist.

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