Weather and triggering of ventricular arrhythmias in patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators

Jennifer L. Nguyen, Francine Laden, Mark S. Link, Joel Schwartz, Heike Luttmann-Gibson, Douglas W. Dockery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Outdoor ambient weather has been hypothesized to be responsible for the seasonal distribution of cardiac arrhythmias. Because people spend most of their time indoors, we hypothesized that weather-related arrhythmia risk would be better estimated using an indoor measure or an outdoor measure that correlates well with indoor conditions, such as absolute humidity. The clinical records of 203 patients in eastern Massachusetts, USA, with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator were abstracted for arrhythmias between 1995 and 2002. We used case-crossover methods to examine the association between weather and ventricular arrhythmia (VA). Among 84 patients who experienced 787 VAs, lower estimated indoor temperature (odds ratio (OR)=1.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.05-1.27 for a 1 °C decrease in the 24-h average) and lower absolute humidity (OR=1.06, 95% CI 1.03-1.08 for a 0.5 g/m3 decrease in the 96-h average) were associated with increased risk. Lower outdoor temperature increased risk only in warmer months, likely attributable to the poor correlation between outdoor and indoor temperature during cooler months. These results suggest that lower temperature and drier air are associated with increased risk of VA onset among implantable cardioverter-defibrillator patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-181
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 25 2015


  • arrhythmia
  • humidity
  • implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
  • temperature
  • weather

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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