Study links debris exposure at WTC site to heart problems

Workers who responded to the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11, 2001, may be at higher risk for cardiovascular problems such as shortness of breath and heart failure, suggests recent research from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

A study of 1,236 responders who participated in the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program from January 2008 to June 2009 found more than 50 percent had abnormal relaxation of the left ventricle, compared with 7 percent in the general population, according to a Mount Sinai press release. More than 60 percent had impaired function in the right ventricle, which pumps blood to the lungs.

Researchers speculate inhaling debris from the site may have contributed to heart problems, but they caution that more data is needed.

The findings were presented March 15 at the 59th Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology in Atlanta.

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