Weather Trumps Festivity? More Cardiovascular Disease Events Occur in Winter than in December Holidays in Queensland, Australia

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Afoakwah, Clifford
Nghiem, Son
Scuffham, Paul
Stewart, Simon
Byrnes, Joshua
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Objective: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of hospitalisations and deaths in Australia. This study estimates the excess CVD hospitalisations and deaths across seasons and during the December holidays in Queensland, Australia. Methods: The study uses retrospective, longitudinal, population-based cohort data from Queensland, Australia from January 2010 to December 2015. The outcomes were hospitalisations and deaths categorised as CVD-related. CVD events were grouped according to when they occurred in the calendar year. Excess hospitalisations and deaths were estimated using the multivariate ordinary least squares method after adjusting for confounding effects. Results: More CVD hospitalisations and deaths occurred in winter than in summer, with 7811 (CI: 1353, 14,270; p < 0.01) excess hospitalisations and 774 (CI: 35, 1513; p < 0.01) deaths compared to summer. During the coldest month (July), there was an excess of 42 hospitalisations and 7 deaths per 1000 patients. Fewer CVD hospitalisations (−20 (CI: −29, −9; p < 0.01)) occurred during the December holidays than any other period during the calendar year. Non-CVD events were mostly not statistically significant different between periods. Conclusion: Most CVD events in Queensland occurred in winter rather than during the December holidays. Potentially cost-effective initiatives should be explored such as encouraging patients with CVD conditions to wear warmer clothes during cold temperatures and/or insulating the homes of CVD patients who cannot otherwise afford to.

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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Afoakwah, C; Nghiem, S; Scuffham, P; Stewart, S; Byrnes, J, Weather Trumps Festivity? More Cardiovascular Disease Events Occur in Winter than in December Holidays in Queensland, Australia, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (19), pp. 10158