Traffic Pollution Doubles Lung Transplant Death Rate, Study Finds
Air pollution from car traffic may double the risk of organ rejection and death in lung transplant patients, Belgian researchers report in a new study.
Thestudy, which tracked nearly 300 lung transplant recipients over more than a decade, found that patients living less than 600 feet from a main road were twice as likely to develop a severe lung inflammation associated with organ rejection within several years of surgery.
The researchers concluded that nearly 30 percent of deaths in lung transplant recipients could be attributed to living near a main thoroughfare.
The study appears in the latest edition of the medical journal Thorax.
Lung transplant, a last resort for sufferers of end-stage lung disease, has grown increasingly common since the first successful long-term transplant wasaccomplishedin 1983; the procedure was attempted roughly 1,700 times in the U.S. in 2007, statistics show.
Survival rates have alsorisen dramatically, with more than 80 percent of patients now surviving after their first year, and more than 50 percent surviving five years after surgery.