Fluctuating risk of acute kidney injury-related mortality for four weeks after exposure to air pollution: A multi-country time-series study in 6 countries

Jieun Min, Duk Hee Kang, Cinoo Kang, Michelle L. Bell, Ho Kim, Juyeon Yang, Antonio Gasparrini, Eric Lavigne, Masahiro Hashizume, Yoonhee Kim, Chris Fook Sheng Ng, Yasushi Honda, Susana das Neves Pereira da Silva, Joana Madureira, Yue Leon Guo, Shih Chun Pan, Ben Armstrong, Francesco Sera, Pierre Masselot, Joel SchwartzAna Maria Vicedo-Cabrera, Jung Pyo Lee, Ziyad Al-Aly, Jung Won Lee, Youngrin Kwag, Eunhee Ha, Whanhee Lee

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Background: Recent studies have reported that air pollution is related to kidney diseases. However, the global evidence on the risk of death from acute kidney injury (AKI) owing to air pollution is limited. Therefore, we investigated the association between short-term exposure to air pollution—particulate matter ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5), ozone (O3), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)—and AKI-related mortality using a multi-country dataset. Methods: This study included 41,379 AKI-related deaths in 136 locations in six countries during 1987–2018. A novel case time-series design was applied to each air pollutant during 0–28 lag days to estimate the association between air pollution and AKI-related deaths. Moreover, we calculated AKI deaths attributable to non-compliance with the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines. Results: The relative risks (95% confidence interval) of AKI-related deaths are 1.052 (1.003, 1.103), 1.022 (0.994, 1.050), and 1.022 (0.982, 1.063) for 5, 10, and 10 µg/m3 increase in lag 0–28 days of PM2.5, warm-season O3, and NO2, respectively. The lag-distributed association showed that the risk appeared immediately on the day of exposure to air pollution, gradually decreased, and then increased again reaching the peak approximately 20 days after exposure to PM2.5 and O3. We also found that 1.9%, 6.3%, and 5.2% of AKI deaths were attributed to PM2.5, warm-season O3, and NO2 concentrations above the WHO guidelines. Conclusions: This study provides evidence that public health policies to reduce air pollution may alleviate the burden of death from AKI and suggests the need to investigate the several pathways between air pollution and AKI death.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108367
JournalEnvironment International
StatePublished - Jan 2024

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  • Acute kidney injury
  • Air pollution
  • Lag structure
  • Mortality


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