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Association Between Maternal Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Congenital Heart Disease: A Register-based Spatiotemporal Analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Payam Dadvand, Professor Judith Rankin, Professor Tanja Pless-Mulloli


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Recent studies have linked maternal exposure to air pollution with a range of adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, the available evidence linking this exposure to congenital anomalies is still limited and controversial. The present case-control study tested the hypothesis that maternal exposure to ambient black smoke and sulfur dioxide is a risk factor for the occurrence of congenital heart disease. The authors used registry-based data on congenital heart disease for the population of the northeast of England in 1985-1996. A 2-stage spatiotemporal model was developed to predict weekly black smoke and sulfur dioxide levels at each maternal place of residence. Controls were frequency-matched to cases by year of birth (control-to-case ratio of 4:1). Two sets of analyses were performed, using predicted mean values of exposure and 1,000 simulated scenarios of exposure. The analyses were adjusted for birth year, socioeconomic status, infant sex, season of conception, and degree of urbanity. The authors found a weak association between maternal exposure to black smoke and congenital malformations of cardiac chambers and connections only when using exposure as a continuous variable. When the authors used quartiles of exposure, odds ratios did not show a dose-response relation for consecutive quartiles. For sulfur dioxide, the results were not indicative of any association.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dadvand P, Rankin J, Rushton S, Pless-Mulloli T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Epidemiology

Year: 2011

Volume: 173

Issue: 2

Pages: 171-182

Print publication date: 01/12/2010

ISSN (print): 0002-9262

ISSN (electronic): 1476-6256

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwq342


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