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Original Research

Effect of short-term variation in air quality index on cardiorespiratory parameters of non-smoking healthy adults during Diwali in Delhi

Amina Sultan Zaidi, Ved Prakash Varshney, Mona Bedi.


Background: The adverse impact of air pollution on the human body, particularly on the cardiorespiratory functions, is known and well documented in the past studies. However, limited literature is available on the specific impact of short-term variation in air quality index (AQI) and PM2.5 on the cardiorespiratory functions of young healthy individuals. This is invariably experienced around the festival of Diwali (due to bursting of crackers). This study aims to analyze the adverse impact of such short-term exposure to poor quality air on our cardiorespiratory functions and to suggest specific measures to limit these ill effects.

Aim and Objective: This study aims to study the effect of AQI and PM2.5 on pulmonary function test (PFT), heart rate (HR), and blood pressure (BP) in normal non-smoking subjects pre- and post-Diwali.

Materials and Methods: This study was done in the Department of Physiology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, around the Diwali period in 2019. Subjects were recruited from the general population. This study has been performed on 30 subjects. PFT, HR, and BP measurements of all the subjects were recorded 3 days before Diwali, next day of Diwali, and on the 3rd day of Diwali. AQI and PM2.5 were measured using the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research during the above-mentioned 3 specific days. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS-22 statistical software. The two groups were compared using paired Student’s t-test and P < 0.05 will be considered statistically significant. The data were presented as mean ± standard deviation.

Results: There was a significant (P < 0.05) decrease in forced expiratory flow at 25 and 75% immediately next day of Diwali. When means of PFT parameters were compared between pre-Diwali and 3rd day of Diwali, all the PFT parameters were significantly decreased. There was a significant increase in HR immediately next day of Diwali. There was a significant increase in HR and systolic BP on the 3rd day of Diwali.

Conclusion: Even the short-term exposure of acute surge in AQI and PM2.5 causes adverse effect on cardiorespiratory system of normal healthy adults.

Key words: Air Quality Index; PM2.5; Pulmonary Function Test; Cardiorespiratory Parameter

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