Ambulatory monitoring demonstrates an acute association between cookstove-related carbon monoxide and blood pressure in a Ghanaian cohort
Background Repeated exposure to household air pollution may intermittently raise blood pressure (BP) and affect cardiovascular outcomes. We investigated whether hourly carbon monoxide (CO) exposures were associated with acute increases in ambulatory blood pressure (ABP); and secondarily, if switching to an improved cookstove was associated with BP changes. We also evaluated the feasibility of using 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) in a cohort of pregnant women in Ghana. Methods Participants were 44 women enrolled in the Ghana Randomized Air Pollution and Health Study (GRAPHS). For 27 of the women, BP was measured using 24-h ABPM; home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) was used to measure BP in the remaining 17 women. Personal CO exposure monitoring was conducted alongside the BP monitoring. Results ABPM revealed that peak CO exposure (defined as ≥4.1 ppm) in the 2 hours prior to BP measurement was associated with elevations in hourly systolic BP (4.3 mmHg [95% CI: 1.1, 7.4]) and diastolic BP (4.5 mmHg [95% CI: 1.9, 7.2]), as compared to BP following lower CO exposures. Women receiving improved cookstoves had lower post-intervention SBP (within-subject change in SBP of −2.1 mmHg [95% CI: -6.6, 2.4] as compared to control), though this result did not reach statistical significance. 98.1% of expected 24-h ABPM sessions were successfully completed, with 92.5% of them valid according to internationally defined criteria. Conclusions We demonstrate an association between acute exposure to carbon monoxide and transient increases in BP in a West African setting. ABPM shows promise as an outcome measure for assessing cardiovascular health benefits of cookstove interventions.
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