Short-term associations between air pollution concentrations and respiratory health—Comparing primary health care visits, hospital admissions, and emergency department visits in a multi-municipality study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Acute effects of air pollution on respiratory health have traditionally been investigated with data on inpatient admissions, emergency room visits, and mortality. In this study, we aim to describe the total acute effects of air pollution on health care use for respiratory symptoms (ICD10-J00-J99). This will be done by investigating primary health care (PHC) visits, inpatient admissions, and emergency room visits together in five municipalities in southern Sweden, using a case-crossover design. Between 2005 and 2010, there were 81,019 visits to primary health care, 38,217 emergency room visits, and 25,271 inpatient admissions for respiratory symptoms in the study area. There was a 1.85% increase (95% CI: 0.52 to 3.20) in the number of primary health care visits associated with a 10 μg/m3 increase in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in Malmö, but not in the other municipalities. Air pollution levels were generally not associated with emergency room visits or inpatient admissions, with one exception (in Helsingborg there was a 2.52% increase in emergency room visits for respiratory symptoms associated with a 10 μg/m3 increase in PM10). In conclusion, the results give weak support for short-term effects of air pollution on health care use associated with respiratory health symptoms in the study area.


External organisations
  • Umeå University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy


  • Air pollution, Case crossover, Hospital admissions and ER visits, Primary health care, Respiratory health
Original languageEnglish
Article number587
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch