European journal of epidemiology vol:20 issue:5 pages:407-10
Studies within populations consistently showed that cardiovascular mortality increases with hot weather. However, the biological mechanisms underlying this association remain largely unknown. Endothelial function plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, we investigated the association between endothelial function and outdoor temperature. We measured flow-mediated vasodilatation (FMD) as index of endothelial function in 274 randomly recruited subjects (50% women, mean age 40.6 year). Both before (partial r = -0.14, p = 0.017) and after adjustment (partial r = -0.17, p = 0.006) for sex, age, body mass index, brachial artery diameter and current smoking, FMD was negatively associated with mean daily temperature. The odds of endothelial dysfunction increased by 58% (95% CI: 4-141%; p = 0.03) for each 10 degrees C increment in mean daily temperature during the week before the examination. Our findings suggest that endothelial dysfunction might contribute to the increase in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality associated with hot weather.