Association between daily hospital outpatient visits for accidents and daily ambient air temperatures in an industrial city

Tang Tat Chau, Kuo Ying Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

An accident is an unwanted hazard to a person. However, accidents occur. In this work, we search for correlations between daily accident rates and environmental factors. To study daily hospital outpatients who were admitted for accidents during a 5-year period, 2007-2011, we analyzed data regarding 168,366 outpatients using univariate regression models; we also used multivariable regression models to account for confounding factors. Our analysis indicates that the number of male outpatients admitted for accidents was approximately 1.31 to 1.47 times the number of female outpatients (P < 0.0001). Of the 12 parameters (regarding air pollution and meteorology) considered, only daily temperature exhibited consistent and significant correlations with the daily number of hospital outpatient visits for accidents throughout the 5-year analysis period. The univariate regression models indicate that older people (greater than 66 years old) had the fewest accidents per 1-degree increase in temperature, followed by young people (0-15 years old). Middle-aged people (16-65 years old) were the group of outpatients that were more prone to accidents, with an increase in accident rates of 0.8-1.2 accidents per degree increase in temperature. The multivariable regression models also reveal that the temperature variation was the dominant factor in determining the daily number of outpatient visits for accidents. Our further multivariable model analysis of temperature with respect to air pollution variables show that, through the increases in emissions and concentrations of CO, photochemical O3 production and NO2 loss in the ambient air, increases in vehicular emissions are associated with increases in temperatures. As such, increases in hospital visits for accidents are related to vehicular emissions and usage. This finding is consistent with clinical experience which shows about 60% to 80% of accidents are related to traffic, followed by accidents occurred in work place.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0145003
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

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