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March 2013

Outdoor Heat Increases Risk of Emergency Respiratory Hospitalization in Elderly

Outdoor heat is associated with a significantly increased risk of emergency hospitalization for respiratory disorders in the elderly, according to a large epidemiological study of more than 12.5 million Medicare beneficiaries.  

“While outdoor heat has been shown to increase respiratory mortality, evidence on the relationship between heat and respiratory hospitalizations has been less consistent,” said lead author G. Brooke Anderson, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “In the largest population of the elderly yet studied, we found strong evidence that short-term exposure to outdoor heat increases the risk of hospitalization for COPD and respiratory tract infections. This relationship was consistent for men and women and across all age groups studied.”

The findings were published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The study included 213 urban counties across the United States and more than 30 percent of the U.S. population aged 65 or older. Data on Medicare emergency respiratory hospitalizations were obtained for the period 1999-2008, along with measurements of weather and air pollution.  

On average, respiratory hospitalizations increased 4.3 percent for each 10°F increase in daily mean summer temperature. This association, which was not changed by adjustments for air pollution, age, gender or seasonal trends in hospitalization rates and temperature, was strongest on the day of exposure to heat and remained elevated the day following exposure.

The increased risk for heat-related hospitalization was similar for COPD (4.7 percent) and respiratory tract infections (4.1 percent), and tended to be higher in counties where summers are typically mild.

Each 10°F increase in daily temperature translates to approximately 30 excess respiratory hospitalizations per day among the elderly in the 213 counties studied, with larger increases in temperature expected to result in more excess hospitalizations.

“Our study provides clear and consistent evidence of a link between outdoor heat and hospitalization for respiratory disease in the elderly,” said senior author Dr. Roger D. Peng, associate professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “As the prevalence of respiratory conditions and the age of the population continue to increase and global temperatures continue to rise as a result of climate change, the risk of heat-related respiratory disease is also likely to increase.”

Contact for article: G. Brooke Anderson, Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205.
Phone: 203-508-2738
Email: geanders@jhsph.edu

American Thoracic Society to Host Free Patient Events During International Conference in May

Opportunity for Lung Disease Patients to Speak and Interact with  Prominent Clinicians

Philadelphia – The American Thoracic Society (ATS) will hold its seventh annual  patient-focused forums, “Breathing Better with the ATS” and “Meet-the-Expert,”  at the ATS International Conference in Philadelphia this May. These events are  free and open to the public.
Both  events are organized and hosted by the ATS Public Advisory Roundtable (ATS PAR)  and will be held on Saturday, May 18th at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.
The “Breathing  Better with the ATS” forum is open to lung disease patients and their families  and will feature expert speakers  as well as a mix-and-mingle reception to give patients and their families a  chance to interact with prominent pulmonologists from around the globe. It is  also an opportunity for patients to meet other individuals who share similar experiences  with lung disease. This year’s forum will focus on innovations in lung health  and will cover the latest clinical trials and patient engagement in research,  the interplay between diet, exercise, and sleep, expanding the lung  transplantation donor pool, and adult immunizations and chronic lung disease.
The “Meet-the-Expert”  event offers patients an opportunity to discuss the latest in research,  clinical trials, and clinical care with experts on a number of different lung  diseases including sleep apnea, pulmonary fibrosis, Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome,  Alpha-1, ARDS, LAM and COPD. This event will be followed by an expert panel  discussion on innovations in lung health. Complimentary  parking and lunch will be provided, and an oxygen refill station for those  attendees with Portable Oxygen Concentrators will be available.
What:  Breathing Better with the ATS
When:  Saturday, May 18, 2013, 1:00 p.m – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Loews  Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107. Meeting room:  Millennium 2nd floor
Speakers: Teresa Barnes, Chair,  ATS-PAR; Gail Weinmann, MD, NHLBI, Atul Malhotra, MD, Harvard Medical School,  Suzanne Schrandt, JD, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute; Vivek N.  Ahya, MD; University of Pennsylvania; Samuel B. Graitcer, MD, CDC.
What:  Meet-the-Expert
:  Saturday, May 18, 2013, 10:00 a.m – 12:30 p.m, followed by “Innovations in Lung  Health” presentations, 1:00 p.m – 4:00 p.m.
: Loews  Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107. Meeting rooms:  Commonwealth A,B.C,D.
Pulmonary Fibrosis: Andrew Tager, MD,  Gregory Cosgrove, MD; Pulmonary Hypertension: Paul R. Forfia, MD, Brian D. Hanna,  MDCM, PhD, Harold Palevsky, MD, Darren Taichman, MD, PhD; Hermansky Pudlak Syndrome: Bernadette Gochuico, MD; Children’s  Interstitial Lung Disease: Robin  Deterding, MD; Lymphangiomatosis & Gorham’s Disease: Debra Boyer, MD; Lung  Cancer: Rita S.  Axelrod, MD; ARDS: Giora Netzer,  MD, James Jackson, PsyD; Sleep Apnea: Michael Coppola, MD; SARCOIDOSIS: Dan Culver, DO, Lisa Maier, MD, Elliott Crouser, MD, Karen  Patterson, MD, Joseph Parambil, MD; COPD: Scott Ceretta, RT, Byron Thomashow, MD; Scleroderma: Aryeh Fischer, MD.
To RSVP,  or for more information, please contact Mr. Courtney L. White at cwhite@thoracic.org or (212) 315-8640. The ATS International  Conference is the premier  conference on pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine in the U.S.