Welding fume exposure is associated with heart rate variability (HRV) reduction. It is still unknown whether respirator can reduce effect of welding fume on HRV among welding workers in a shipyard. We recruited 68 welding workers with respirator and 52 welding workers without respirator to measure HRV indices, including standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (SDNN) and square root of the mean squared differences of successive intervals (r-MSSD) by ambulatory electrocardiographic (ECG). Personal exposure to particulate matter less than or equal to 2.5 μm in diameter (PM 2.5) was measured by a dust monitor. The association between 5-minute mean PM 2.5 and log 10 -transformed HRV indices was analyzed by mixed-effects models. We found 5-minute mean PM 2.5 was associated with 8.9% and 10.3% decreases in SDNN and r-MSSD. Effect of PM 2.5 on HRV indices was greatest among workers without respirator {SDNN: 12.4% (95% confidence interval = -18.8-6.9); r-MSSD: 14.7% (95% confidence interval = -20.8-8.6)}. Workers with respirator showed slight decreases in HRV indices {SDNN: 2.2% (95% confidence interval = -6.3-1.9); r-MSSD: 4.0% (95% confidence interval = -6.4-1.6)}. We conclude that respirator use reduces the effect of PM 2.5 exposure on HRV among workers performing welding in a shipyard.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34158
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - Sept 28 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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