Respiratory effects of indoor heat and the interaction with air pollution in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Meredith C. McCormack, Andrew J. Belli, Darryn Waugh, Elizabeth C. Matsui, Roger D. Peng, D'ann L. Williams, Laura Paulin, Anik Saha, Charles M. Aloe, Gregory B. Diette, Patrick N. Breysse, Nadia N. Hansel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Rationale: There is limited evidence of the effect of exposure to heat on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) morbidity, and the interactive effect between indoor heat and air pollution has not been established. Objectives: To determine the effect of indoor and outdoor heat exposure onCOPDmorbidity and to determine whether air pollution concentrations modify the effect of temperature. Methods: Sixty-nine participants with COPD were enrolled in a longitudinal cohort study, and data from the 601 participant days that occurred during the warm weather season were included in the analysis. Participants completed home environmental monitoring with measurement of temperature, relative humidity, and indoor air pollutants and simultaneous daily assessment of respiratory health with questionnaires and portable spirometry. Measurements and Main Results: Participants had moderate to severe COPD and spent the majority of their time indoors. Increases in maximal indoor temperature were associated with worsening of daily Breathlessness, Cough, and Sputum Scale scores and increases in rescue inhaler use. The effect was detected on the same day and lags of 1 and 2 days. The detrimental effect of temperature on these outcomes increased with higher concentrations of indoor fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide (P <0.05 for interaction terms). On days during which participants went outdoors, increases in maximal daily outdoor temperature were associated with increases in Breathlessness, Cough, and Sputum Scale scores after adjusting for outdoor pollution concentrations. Conclusions: For patients with COPD who spend the majority of their time indoors, indoor heat exposure during the warmer months represents a modifiable environmental exposure that may contribute to respiratory morbidity. In the context of climate change, adaptive strategies that include optimization of indoor environmental conditions are needed to protect this high-risk group from the adverse health effects of heat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2125-2131
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Climate change
  • Heat
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Particulate matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Respiratory effects of indoor heat and the interaction with air pollution in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this