Fine particulate matter exposure and incidence of stroke: A cohort study in Hong Kong

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We aimed to assess the association of long-term residential exposure to fine particulate matter (PM) with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) with the incidence of stroke and its major subtypes.


We ascertained the first occurrence of emergency hospital admission for stroke in a Hong Kong Chinese cohort of 66,820 older people (65+ years) who enrolled during 1998–2001 (baseline) and were followed up to December 31, 2010. High-resolution (1 × 1 km) yearly mean concentrations of PM2.5 were predicted from local monitoring data and US National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite data using linear regression. Baseline residential PM2.5 exposure was used as a proxy for long-term exposure. We used Cox proportional hazards to evaluate the risk of incident stroke associated with PM2.5 exposure adjusted for potential confounders, including individual and neighborhood factors.


Over a mean follow-up of 9.4 years, we ascertained 6,733 cases of incident stroke, of which 3,526 (52.4%) were ischemic and 1,175 (17.5%) were hemorrhagic. The hazard ratio for every 10 μg/m3 higher PM2.5 concentration was statistically significant at 1.21 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.04–1.41) for ischemic and non-statistically significant at 0.90 (95% CI 0.70–1.17) for hemorrhagic stroke in fully adjusted model 3. The estimates for ischemic stroke were higher in older participants (>70 years), less educated participants, and in men for current smokers.


Long-term PM2.5 exposure was associated with higher risk of incident ischemic stroke, but the association with incident hemorrhagic stroke was less clear.

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