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, Gerard, Tippett, Vivienne, Aitken, Peter, Gerard, Neville, McRae, David, Verrall, Ken, & Tong, Shilu (2012) The impact of heatwaves on mortality and emergency hospital admissions from non-external causes in Brisbane, Australia. Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM), 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°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.

Impact and interest:

39 citations in Scopus
29 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 66931
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Heatwave, Emergency Hospital, Climate Change, Brisbane, Australia
DOI: 10.1136/oem.2010.062141
ISSN: 1470-7926
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Deposited On: 04 Feb 2014 23:14
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2014 05:51

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