Publication Spotlight: Dr. Xi


Read the below interview with Yuzhi, PhD from Postdoctoral Fellow, Emory University author of Effects of short-term ambient PM2.5 exposure on cardiovascular disease incidence and mortality among U.S. hemodialysis patients: a retrospective.

What question did your study aim to answer?

Is short-term ambient PM2.5 exposure associated with an elevated health risk among in-center hemodialysis patients?

What inspired you to conduct this study?

Our group shares a long-standing interest in understanding the potential impact of environmental exposures on the health of this population with a high burden of disease. Previously, we observed an elevated mortality risk associated with wildfire smoke PM2.5 exposure among US hemodialysis patients. We were curious whether all-sourced ambient PM2.5 exposure, which is much more ubiquitous than wildfire smoke, is also associated with elevated health risk among this population.

Which USRDS datasets did you use to conduct your study?

We utilized USRDS Standard Analysis Files (SAFs) of Core, Transplant, and Hospital to construct the study cohort and extract records on adverse health outcomes.

Using plain language, please summarize your study conclusions in two or three points.

  • For patients receiving outpatient hemodialysis, exposure to air pollution for a short period of time up to 3 days may increase their chance of having a heart attack, stroke, or dying.
  • Older patients receiving outpatient hemodialysis appeared to be more susceptible to heart attacks and strokes from air pollution than younger patients.

Please share a specific insight about working with USRDS data that you learned during the completion of this study.

USRDS’s robust data on dialysis clinic visits enables us to accurately link environmental exposures to outcomes on highly granular temporal and spatial scales, which is essential for environmental epidemiological studies but is rarely available from other large datasets.

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