Background Evidence on the effects of the air pollutants on the hospital admissions, hospital cost and length of stay (LOS) among patients with comorbidities remains limited in China, particularly for patients with cardiovascular diseases and comorbid diabetes mellitus (CVD-DM).
Methods We collected daily data on CVD-DM patients from 242 hospitals in Beijing between 2014 and 2019. Generalized additive model was employed to quantify the associations between admissions, LOS, and hospital cost for CVD-DM patients and air pollutants. We further evaluated the attributable risk posed by air pollutants to CVD-DM patients, using both Chinese and WHO air quality guidelines as reference.
Results Per 10 ug/m3 increase of particles with an aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 μm (PM2.5), particles with an aerodynamic diameter < 10 μm (PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbonic oxide (CO) and ozone (O3) corresponded to a 0.64% (95% CI: 0.57 to 0.71), 0.52% (95% CI: 0.46 to 0.57), 0.93% (95% CI: 0.67 to 1.20), 0.98% (95% CI: 0.81 to 1.16), 1.66% (95% CI: 1.18 to 2.14) and 0.53% (95% CI: 0.45 to 0.61) increment for CVD-DM patients’ admissions. Among the six pollutants, particulate pollutants (PM2.5 and PM10) in most lag days exhibited adverse effects on LOS and hospital cost. For every 10 ug/m3 increase in PM2.5 and PM10, the absolute increase with LOS will increase 62.08 days (95% CI: 28.93 to 95.23) and 51.77 days (95% CI:22.88 to 80.66), respectively. The absolute increase with hospital cost will increase 105.04 Chinese Yuan (CNY) (95% CI: 49.27 to 160.81) and 81.76 CNY (95% CI: 42.01 to 121.51) in PM2.5 and PM10, respectively. Given WHO 2021 air quality guideline as the reference, PM2.5 had the maximum attributable fraction of 3.34% (95% CI: 2.94% to 3.75%), corresponding to an avoidable of 65,845 (95% CI: 57,953 to 73,812) patients with CVD-DM.
Conclusion PM2.5 and PM10 are positively associated with hospital admissions, hospital cost and LOS for patients with CVD-DM. Policy changes to reduce air pollutants exposure may reduce CVD-DM admissions and substantial savings in health care spending and LOS.