Summertime extreme heat events and increased risk of acute myocardial infarction hospitalizations

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Few studies have examined the association between exposure to extreme heat events and risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or demonstrated which populations are most vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat. We defined extreme heat events as days when the daily maximum temperature (TMAX) exceeded the location- and calendar day-specific 95th percentile of the distribution of daily TMAX during the 30-year baseline period (1960–1989). We used a time-stratified case-crossover design to analyze the association between exposure to extreme heat events and risk of hospitalization for AMI in the summer months (June-August) with 0, 1, or 2 lag days. There were a total of 32,670 AMI hospitalizations during the summer months in Maryland between 2000 and 2012. Overall, extreme heat events on the day of hospitalization were associated with an increased risk of AMI (lag 0 OR = 1.11; 95% CI: 1.05–1.17). Results considering lag periods immediately before hospitalization were comparable, but effect estimates varied among several population subgroups. As extreme weather events are expected to become more frequent and intense in response to our changing climate, community-specific adaptation strategies are needed to account for the differential susceptibility across ethnic subgroups and geographic areas.

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