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Relation between myocardial ischemia and career length among firefighters

Severity of myocardial ischemia is related to career length rather than age among professional firefighters


Authors: Dillon J Dzikowicz , Mary G Carey

Photo by Matt Chesin @ Unsplash


Background: Ischemic heart disease (IHD) is the major cause of duty-related fatalities in the fire service. Age and career length are not only important risk factors associated with IHD, but are also highly correlated. The aim of this secondary analyses was to assess the relationship between age, career length, and IHD, based on ischemic severity, to identify whether age or career length had a stronger relationship to IHD.

Methods: This was a secondary, correlational analysis of on-duty firefighters without known cardiovascular or respiratory disease who underwent exercise treadmill testing with 12-lead electrocardiography. Ischemia was defined based on current guidelines. Maximum ST-segment depression was measured to determine IHD ischemic severity. Age, years of employment, demographics, weight, blood pressure were recorded. Multiple correlations were computed between age, career length, and IHD.

Findings: Twenty-two firefighters were included (96% male, 82% White, 82% overweight or obese, 77% hypertensive). The partial correlation between maximum ST-segment depression and age controlled for career length was not significant (r = -.392, p = .079). The partial correlation between maximum ST-segment depression and career length controlled for age was statistically significant (r = .466, p = .033).

Conclusion/application to practice: Career length, not age, moderately correlates with IHD ischemic severity among firefighters. Career length is a proxy measure of occupational exposures which contributes to IHD. When assessing IHD risk in firefighters, health practitioners should consider incorporating the occupational exposure history (i.e., career length) in addition to age when providing risk reduction services.


This article is a trending article in the field of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The abstract above was written by the author(s) below. This study was conducted by the author(s) below and published in the journal or book below. Authors: Dillon J Dzikowicz , Mary G Carey Journal: Workplace health & safety Link 1: this article @ Pubmed Link 2: this article @ Sage Journals

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