Background:Two recent case-control studies in Italy reported that long-term exposure to particulate air pollution or living near major traffic roads was associated with an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). No prospective evidence exists on the possible association between long-term traffic-related air pollution and incident venous thromboembolism (VTE). Objectives:To examine the association between long-term traffic exposure and incident VTE in a population-based prospective cohort study. Methods:We studied 13143 middle-aged men and women in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study without a history of DVT or pulmonary embolism at baseline examination (1987-1989). The Geographical Information System-mapped traffic density and distance to major roads in the four study communities served as measures of traffic exposure. We examined the association between traffic exposure and incident VTE with proportional hazards regression models. Results:A total of 405 subjects developed VTE in 2005. Traffic density was not significantly associated with VTE. Relative to those in the lowest quartile of traffic density, the adjusted hazard ratios across increasing quartiles were 1.18 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.88-1.57), 0.99 (95% CI 0.74-1.34) and 1.14 (95% CI 0.86-1.51) (P-value for trend across quartiles=0.64). For residents living within 150m of major roads, as compared with subjects living further away, the adjusted hazard ratio was 1.16 (95% CI 0.95-1.42, P=0.14). Conclusions:This first prospective study in the general population does not support an association between air pollution exposure or traffic proximity and risk of DVT. More data may be needed to clarify whether traffic or air pollution influences the risk of VTE.
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