J Korean Med Sci.  2020 Mar;35(10):e64. 10.3346/jkms.2020.35.e64.

Effects of Particulate Respirator Use on Cardiopulmonary Function in Elderly Women: a Quasi-Experimental Study

  • 1Section of Environmental Health, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 2Institute of Environmental Medicine, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul, Korea. ychong1@snu.ac.kr
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Inha University Hospital, Incheon, Korea.
  • 5Department of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
  • 6Environmental Health Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Individual particulate respirator use may offer protection against exposure to particulate matter < 2.5 µm in diameter (PM(2.5)). Among elderly Korean women, we explored individual particulate respirator use and cardiopulmonary function.
Recruited in Seoul, Korea, 21 elderly, non-smoking women wore particulate respirators for six consecutive days (exlcuding time spent eating, sleeping, and bathing). We measured resting blood pressure before, during, and after respirator use and recorded systolic and diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial blood pressure, pulse pressure, and lung function. We also measured 12-hour ambulatory blood pressure at the end of the 6-day long experiment and control periods. Additionally, we examined physiological stress (heart rate variability and urinary 8-hydroxy-2"²-deoxyguanosine) while wearing the particulate respirators. Person- and exposure-level covariates were also considered in the model.
After the 6-day period of respirator use, resting blood pressure was reduced by 5.3 mmHg for systolic blood pressure (P = 0.013), 2.9 mmHg for mean arterial blood pressure (P = 0.079), and 3.6 mmHg for pulse pressure (P = 0.024). However, particulate respirator use was associated with changes in physiological stress markers. A parasympathetic activity marker (high frequency) significantly decreased by 24.0% (P = 0.029), whereas a sympathetic activity marker (ratio of low-to-high frequency) increased by 50.3% (P = 0.045). An oxidative stress marker, 8-hydroxy-2"²-deoxyguanosine, increased by 3.4 ng/mg creatinine (P = 0.021) during the experimental period compared with that during the control period. Lung function indices indicated that wearing particulate respirators was protective; however, statistical significance was not confirmed.
Individual particulate respirator use may prevent PM(2.5)-induced blood-pressure elevation among elderly Korean women. However, the effects of particulate respirator use, including physiological stress marker elevation, should also be considered. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical Research Information Service Identifier: KCT0003526


Blood Pressure; Elderly; Experiment; Particulate Matter; Stress

MeSH Terms

Arterial Pressure
Blood Pressure
Information Services
Non-Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
Oxidative Stress
Particulate Matter
Stress, Physiological
Ventilators, Mechanical*
Particulate Matter
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