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Vol. 21 - Num. 81

Original Papers

Impact of environmental contamination on pediatric hospital admissions: ecological study

Marciano Sánchez Baylea, Raquel Martín Martínb, Enrique Villalobos Pintoc

aPediatra. Fundación para la Investigación, Estudio y Desarrollo de la Salud Pública. Madrid. España.
bPediatra. CS Párroco Julio Morate. Madrid. España.
cPediatra. Servicio de Pediatría. Hospital Niño Jesús. Madrid. España.

Correspondence: R Martín. E-mail:

Reference of this article: Sánchez Bayle M, Martín Martín R, Villalobos Pinto E. Impact of environmental contamination on pediatric hospital admissions: ecological study. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2019;21 [en prensa].

Published in Internet: 15-01-2019


Objective: to study the relationship between air pollution levels and total pediatric hospital admissions and due to respiratory pathologies in particular.

Patients and methods: ecological study in which the dependent variable analysed was total pediatric admissions and those due to respiratory pathologies, specifically pneumonias, asthma attacks, bronchiolitis, in a hospital in the centre of Madrid and for 6 years (2012-2017). As independent variables, the average values of environmental pollutants registered in the city of Madrid were studied. Correlation coefficients and multiple linear regression were calculated. The average income was compared when the values of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were higher and lower than 40 μg/m3.

Results: During the period of the study, there were a total of 10 512 admissions in general pediatrics, out of which 5328 (50.68%) caused by respiratory processes. A correlation was found between the levels of NO2, CO, benzene and the total and respiratory-related hospital admissions in all cases with a value of p <0.0001. In the multiple linear regression, the total admissions were related to NO2 levels positively and negatively with the temperature. As for the admissions due to respiratory pathology, they increase with the levels of NO2 and benzene and decrease with temperature. A calculation estimated that if the levels of NO2 had not exceeded 40μg/m3 in any month, 8.37% (95 CI: 7.77-8.98) of the total admissions and 6.73% (95 CI: 6-7.52) of respiratory-related admissions could have been avoided.

Conclusions: a relation was found between the total pediatric hospital admissions and those due to respiratory pathologies and the levels of air pollutants, especially NO2. The improvement of air quality could prevent a significant percentage of pediatric admissions. It should be a priority for pediatricians to encourage the improvement of air quality.


Environmental pollution Hospital admissions Respiratory diseases



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