Intended for healthcare professionals


Airport noise and cardiovascular disease

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 08 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5752
  1. Stephen Stansfeld, professor of psychiatry
  1. 1Centre for Psychiatry, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and the London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London EC1M 6BQ, UK
  1. s.a.stansfeld{at}

The link seems real: planners take note

Environmental noise is an understudied environmental pollutant that has important implications for public health and policy. Although studies of exposure to aircraft noise have examined the risk of hypertension,1 few have examined the risk of cardiovascular disease.2 One early study suggested that exposure to aircraft noise around Schiphol airport, Amsterdam, was related to medical treatment for heart disease and hypertension and the use of cardiovascular drugs after adjusting for age, sex, smoking, height and weight, and socioeconomic differences.3 Two linked BMJ studies have investigated the association between cardiovascular disease and airport noise.4 5

The study by Hansell and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.f5432) found an increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease for both hospital admissions and mortality in relation to daytime and night-time exposure to aircraft noise in people living around Heathrow airport, London. The results were adjusted for area level ethnicity, social deprivation, lung cancer as a proxy for smoking, road traffic noise exposure, and air pollution. A dose-response association was seen between admissions to hospital for cardiovascular disease and the level of aircraft noise.4

In a separate study around …

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