The impact of heatwaves on mortality and emergency hospital admissions from non-external causes in Brisbane, Australia

Wang, Xiao Yu, Barnett, Adrian Gerard, Yu, Weiwei, Fitzgerald, Gerry, Tippett, Vivienne, Aitken, Peter, Neville, Gerard, McRae, David, Verrall, Ken, and Tong, Shilu (2012) The impact of heatwaves on mortality and emergency hospital admissions from non-external causes in Brisbane, Australia. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 69 (3). pp. 163-169.

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Abstract

Objectives: Heatwaves can have significant health consequences resulting in increased mortality and morbidity. However, their impact on people living in tropical/subtropical regions remains largely unknown. This study assessed the impact of heatwaves on mortality and emergency hospital admissions (EHAs) from non-external causes (NEC) in Brisbane, a subtropical city in Australia.

Methods: We acquired daily data on weather, air pollution and EHAs for patients aged 15 years and over in Brisbane between January 1996 and December 2005, and on mortality between January 1996 and November 2004. A locally derived definition of heatwave (daily maximum >= 37 degrees C for 2 or more consecutive days) was adopted. Case-crossover analyses were used to assess the impact of heatwaves on cause-specific mortality and EHAs.

Results: During heatwaves, there was a statistically significant increase in NEC mortality (OR 1.46; 95% CI 1.21 to 1.77), cardiovascular mortality (OR 1.89; 95% CI 1.44 to 2.48), diabetes mortality in those aged 75+ (OR 9.96; 95% CI 1.02 to 96.85), NEC EHAs (OR 1.15; 95% CI 1.07 to 1.23) and EHAs from renal diseases (OR 1.41; 95% CI 1.09 to 1.83). The elderly were found to be particularly vulnerable to heatwaves (eg, for NEC EHAs, OR 1.24 for 65-74-year-olds and 1.39 for those aged 75+).

Conclusions: Significant increases in NEC mortality and EHAs were observed during heatwaves in Brisbane where people are well accustomed to hot summer weather. The most vulnerable were the elderly and people with cardiovascular, renal or diabetic disease.

Item ID: 22135
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1351-0711
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Queensland Department of Environment and Resources Management, Community Safety, Queensland Health, Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2012 16:09
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110305 Emergency Medicine @ 33%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111709 Health Care Administration @ 34%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety @ 33%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920405 Environmental Health @ 33%
92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920599 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) not elsewhere classified @ 34%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences @ 33%
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