Tropical cyclone exposures and risks of emergency medicare hospital admission for cardiorespiratory diseases in 175 Urban United States Counties, 1999-2010

Meilin Yan, Ander Wilson, Francesca Dominici, Yun Wang, Mohammad Al-Hamdan, William Crosson, Andrea Schumacher, Seth Guikema, Sheryl Magzamen, Jennifer L. Peel, Roger D. Peng, G. Brooke Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Although injuries experienced during hurricanes and other tropical cyclones have been relatively well-characterized through traditional surveillance, less is known about tropical cyclones' impacts on noninjury morbidity, which can be triggered through pathways that include psychosocial stress or interruption in medical treatment. Methods: We investigated daily emergency Medicare hospitalizations (1999-2010) in 180 US counties, drawing on an existing cohort of high-population counties. We classified counties as exposed to tropical cyclones when storm-associated peak sustained winds were ≥21 m/s at the county center; secondary analyses considered other wind thresholds and hazards. We matched storm-exposed days to unexposed days by county and seasonality. We estimated change in tropical cyclone-associated hospitalizations over a storm period from 2 days before to 7 days after the storm's closest approach, compared to unexposed days, using generalized linear mixed-effect models. Results: For 1999-2010, 175 study counties had at least one tropical cyclone exposure. Cardiovascular hospitalizations decreased on the storm day, then increased following the storm, while respiratory hospitalizations were elevated throughout the storm period. Over the 10-day storm period, cardiovascular hospitalizations increased 3% (95% confidence interval = 2%, 5%) and respiratory hospitalizations increased 16% (95% confidence interval = 13%, 20%) compared to matched unexposed periods. Relative risks varied across tropical cyclone exposures, with strongest association for the most restrictive wind-based exposure metric. Conclusions: In this study, tropical cyclone exposures were associated with a short-term increase in cardiorespiratory hospitalization risk among the elderly, based on a multi-year/multi-site investigation of US Medicare beneficiaries ≥65 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-326
Number of pages12
JournalEpidemiology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Cyclone
  • Hospitalization
  • Hurricane
  • Medicare
  • Natural disasters
  • Tropical storm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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