Plastic particles may increase the risk of a heart attack Plastic particles may increase the risk of a heart attack

Plastic particles may increase the risk of a heart attack

Plastic particles may increase the risk of a heart attack

Scientists at the Italian University of Campania have discovered small plastic particles inside clogged arteries in patients undergoing procedures to clean a major artery in the neck.
The findings have raised concerns that microplastics could increase the risk of heart disease, strokes and death.

In the study, scientists analyzed 304 patients who underwent procedures to clean a major artery in the neck.

They found microscopic and nanoscopic pieces of plastic with jagged edges in the plaque lining the blood vessels in more than half of the participants (58%).

Plastic particles included both polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride.

“Polyethylene and PVC, in their various forms, are used in a wide range of applications, including the production of food and cosmetic containers and water pipes,” the research team wrote.

Scientists found that patients who had plastic particles in their carotid artery plaque had a higher risk of having a heart attack, stroke or death within the next three years of their lives, after taking the individuals' other risk factors into account.

Levels of inflammatory proteins also rise in their blood, which play a role in atherosclerosis and heart failure.

Dr. Rafael Marvella, the first author of the study, said: “Our data will greatly impact cardiovascular health if confirmed, because we cannot defend ourselves against plastic pollution.”

Previous studies have discovered different types of microplastics and nanoplastic particles in multiple tissues, including the colon, liver, spleen, lymph node tissue, and placenta.

While the new study cannot prove that plastic caused negative effects in patients, it is the first to link small particles to cardiovascular disease in humans, wrote Dr. Philip Landrigan of Boston College, who was not involved in the study.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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