Smog linked to or­gan rejection, deaths in lung trans­plant pa­tients

Daily Trust - - HEALTH -

Liv­ing near busy roads with high lev­els of air pol­lu­tion raises lung trans­plant pa­tients’ risk of or­gan rejection and death, but some an­tibi­otics lower that risk, a new study shows.

Re­searchers ex­am­ined data gath­ered from more than 5,700 lung trans­plant pa­tients in 10 Euro­pean coun­tries be­tween 1987 and 2013.

The anal­y­sis re­vealed that pa­tients who lived in ar­eas where air pol­lu­tion was above max­i­mum lev­els rec­om­mended by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion ( WHO) were 10 per­cent more likely to die than those in ar­eas with lower lev­els of pol­lu­tion.

But this in­creased risk of death was not seen among pa­tients who took a class of an­tibi­otics called macrolides, which in­clude azithromycin (Zithro­max) and clar­ithromycin (Bi­axin), ac­cord­ing to the study pre­sented Tues­day at a meet­ing of the Euro­pean Res­pi­ra­tory So­ci­ety in Am­s­ter­dam.

“Short and long-term ex­po­sure to air pol­lu­tion has been linked to an in­crease in deaths from res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases, par­tic­u­larly among vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions. Lung trans­plant pa­tients are among the most vul­ner­a­ble be­cause they have weak­ened im­mune sys­tems due to the im­muno­sup­pres­sive drugs they have to take to pre­vent or­gan rejection,” study au­thor Dr. David Rut­tens said in a Euro­pean Lung Foun­da­tion news re­lease. Rut­tens is a spe­cial­ist in res­pi­ra­tory medicine at the Univer­sity of Leu­ven in Bel­gium.

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