Long-term exposure to transportation noise and risk for atrial fibrillation: A Danish nationwide cohort study

Jesse D. Thacher*, Aslak H. Poulsen, Ulla A. Hvidtfeldt, Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, Matthias Ketzel, Steen S. Jensen, Jørgen Brandt, Victor H. Valencia, Thomas Münzel, Mette Sørensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: Epidemiological studies have linked transportation noise and cardiovascular diseases, however, atrial fibrillation (AF) has received limited attention. We aimed to investigate the association between transportation noise and AF risk. Methods: Over the period 1990–2017 we estimated road and railway noise (Lden) at the most and least exposed façades for all residential addresses across Denmark. We estimated time-weighted mean noise exposure for 3.6 million individuals age ≥35 years. Of these, 269,756 incident cases of AF were identified with a mean follow-up of 13.0 years. Analyses were conducted using Cox proportional hazards models with adjustment for individual and area-level sociodemographic covariates and long-term residential air pollution. Results: A 10 dB higher 10-year mean road traffic noise at the most and least exposed façades were associated with incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for AF of 1.006 (1.001–1.011) and 1.013 (1.007–1.019), respectively. After further adjustment for PM2.5, the IRRs (CIs) were 1.000 (0.995–1.005) and 1.007 (1.000–1.013), respectively. For railway noise, the IRRs per 10 dB increase in 10-year mean exposure were 1.017 (1.007–1.026) and 1.035 (1.021–1.050) for the most and least exposed façades, respectively, and were slightly attenuated when adjusted for PM2.5. Aircraft noise between 55 and 60 dB and ≥60 dB were associated with IRRs of 1.055 (0.996–1.116) and 1.036 (0.931–1.154), respectively, when compared to <45 dB. Conclusion: Transportation noise seems to be associated with a small increase in AF risk, especially for exposure at the least exposed façade.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112167
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cohort
  • Epidemiology
  • Traffic noise

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