US Pharm. 2007;32(10):93-94.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, concluded that breathing diesel fumes during exercise, even for a brief period of time, promoted myocardial ischemia in men who have had a heart attack.

According to Nicholas L. Mills, MD, and colleagues, the combination also impaired thrombotic mechanisms. Although exposure to diesel exhaust did not aggravate preexisting vasomotor dysfunction, it did reduce the acute release of endothelial tissue plasminogen activator six hours after inhaling the exhaust fumes.

"We hypothesize that oxidative stress and microvascular dysfunction in the resistance vessels of the myocardium may, in part, explain the adverse ischemic effects of exposure to dilute diesel exhaust," said the researchers. Dr. Mills explained that diesel exhaust is a complex mixture of gases and particulates, and a nonparticulate cause of the adverse effects cannot be ruled out.

To comment on this article, contact