Impact of Hurricanes and Associated Extreme Weather Events on Cardiovascular Health: A Scoping Review

Arnab K. Ghosh, Michelle R. Demetres, Benjamin P. Geisler, Shakirah N. Ssebyala, Tianyi Yang, Martin F. Shapiro, Soko Setoguchi, David Abramson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The frequency and destructiveness of hurricanes and related extreme weather events (e.g., cyclones, severe storms) have been increasing due to climate change. A growing body of evidence suggests that victims of hurricanes have increased incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), likely due to increased stressors around time of the hurricane and in their aftermath. OBJECTIVES: The objective was to systematically examine the evidence of the association between hurricanes (and related extreme weather events) and adverse CVD outcomes with the goal of understanding the gaps in the literature. METHODS: A comprehensive literature search of population-level and cohort studies focused on CVD outcomes (i.e., myocardial infarction, stroke, and heart failure) related to hurricanes, cyclones, and severe storms was performed in the following databases from inception to December 2021: Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid EMBASE, Web of Science, and The Cochrane Library. Studies retrieved were then screened for eligibility against predefined inclusion/exclusion criteria. Studies were then qualitatively synthesized based on the time frame of the CVD outcomes studied and special populations that were studied. Gaps in the literature were identified based on this synthesis. RESULTS: Of the 1,103 citations identified, 48 met our overall inclusion criteria. We identified articles describing the relationship between CVD and extreme weather, primarily hurricanes, based on data from the United States (42), Taiwan (3), Japan (2), and France (1). Outcomes included CVD and myocardial infarction–related hospitalizations (30 studies) and CVVD-related mortality (7 studies). Most studies used a retrospective study design, including one case–control study, 39 cohort studies, and 4 time-series studies. DISCUSSION: Although we identified a number of papers that reported evaluations of extreme weather events and short-term adverse CVD out-comes, there were important gaps in the literature. These gaps included a) a lack of rigorous long-term evaluation of hurricane exposure, b) lack of investigation of hurricane exposure on vulnerable populations regarding issues related to environmental justice, c) absence of research on the exposure of multiple hurricanes on populations, and d) absence of an exploration of mechanisms leading to worsened CVD outcomes. Future research should attempt to fill these gaps, thus providing an important evidence base for future disaster-related policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116003
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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