Hourly associations between ambient temperature and emergency ambulance calls in one central Chinese city: Call for an immediate emergency plan

Yingjie Cui, Siqi Ai, Yuying Liu, Zhengmin (Min) Qian, Changke Wang, Jia Sun, Xiangyan Sun, Shiyu Zhang, Kevin M. Syberg, Steven Howard, Lijie Qin, Hualiang Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Most studies examining the short-term effects of temperature on health were based on the daily scale, few were at the hourly level. Revealing the relationship between unfavorable temperatures on an hourly basis and health is conducive to the development of more accurate extreme temperature early warning systems and reasonable dispatch of ambulances. Methods: Hourly data on temperature, air pollution (including PM2.5, O3, SO2 and NO2) and emergency ambulance calls (EACs) for all-cause, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases from January 16, 2014 to December 31, 2016 were obtained from Luoyang, China. A distributed lag non-linear model (DLNM) was used to assess the association between hourly temperature and ambulance calls after adjusting for potential confounding factors. The fractions of EACs attributable to non-optimum temperatures were also estimated. Results: Hourly temperature was associated with increased ambulance calls with a varying lag pattern. Extreme hot temperature (>32.1 °C) was positively associated with all-cause, cardiovascular diseases at lag 0–30 h and lag 0–9 h, while no significant effects were found for respiratory morbidity. Extreme cold temperature (<−2.5 °C) was positively associated with all-cause, cardiovascular and respiratory morbidity at lag 56–157 h, 50–145 h and 123–170 h. An overall EACs fraction of 6.84% [Backward estimate, 95% confidence interval (CI): 5.01%, 8.59%] could be attributed to non-optimum temperatures, and more contributions were caused by cold [Backward estimate: 6.06% (95% CI: 5.10%, 8.48%)] than by heat [Backward estimate: 0.79% (95% CI: 0.12%, 1.45%)]. Conclusions: Extreme hot temperature may lead to increased ambulance calls within a few hours, while extreme cold temperature may not increase ambulance calls until more than 2 days later. Effective measures, such as forming hourly temperature warning standards, optimizing ambulance services at extreme temperatures, etc., should be taken to reduce the unfavorable temperature - associated EACs burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number135046
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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