Heart, Lung and Circulation

Extreme Heat and Adverse Cardiovascular Outcomes in Australia and New Zealand: What Do We Know?

  • Author Footnotes
    § co-first authors.
    Georgia K. Chaseling
    Corresponding author at: University of Sydney, Susan Wakil Health Building, Western Ave, Camperdown, NSW, 2050
    § co-first authors.
    Engagement and Co-design Research Hub, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

    SOLVE-CHD NHMRC Synergy Grant, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Author Footnotes
    § co-first authors.
    Nathan B. Morris
    § co-first authors.
    Department of Human Physiology & Nutrition, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO, USA
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  • Author Footnotes
    § co-first authors.
    Nicholas Ravanelli
    § co-first authors.
    School of Kinesiology, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON, CA
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  • Author Footnotes
    § co-first authors.
Published:November 21, 2022DOI:
      Extreme heat events are a leading natural hazard risk to human health. Under all future climate change models, extreme heat events will continue to increase in frequency, duration, and intensity. Evidence from previous extreme heat events across the globe demonstrates that adverse cardiovascular events are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, particularly amongst the elderly and those with pre-existing cardiovascular disease. However, less is understood about the adverse effects of extreme heat amongst specific cardiovascular diseases (i.e., heart failure, dysrhythmias) and demographics (sex, ethnicity, age) within Australia and New Zealand. Furthermore, although Australia has implemented regional and state heat warning systems, most personal heat–health protective advice available in public health policy documents is either insufficient, not grounded in scientific evidence, and/or does not consider clinical factors such as age or co-morbidities. Dissemination of evidence-based recommendations and enhancing community resilience to extreme heat disasters within Australia and New Zealand should be an area of critical focus to reduce the burden and negative health effects associated with extreme heat. This narrative review will focus on five key areas in relation to extreme heat events within Australia and New Zealand: 1) the potential physiological mechanisms that cause adverse cardiovascular outcomes during extreme heat events; 2) how big is the problem within Australia and New Zealand?; 3) what the heat–health response plans are; 4) research knowledge and translation; and, 5) knowledge gaps and areas for future research.


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