The U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program has identified climate change as a growing public health threat. This paper investigated the potential effects of changes in ambient daily maximum temperature on hyperthermia and cardiovascular emergency department (ED) visits using records for patients age 64 and younger from a private insurance database for the May–September period for 2005–2012 in the United States.
This paper found a strong positive relationship between daily maximum temperatures and ED visits for hyperthermia but not for cardiovascular conditions. Using the fitted relationship from 136 metropolitan areas, the researchers calculated the number and rate of hyperthermia ED visits for climates representative of year 1995 (baseline period), as well as years 2050 and 2090 (future periods), for two climate change scenarios based on outcomes from five global climate models.
Without considering potential adaptation or population growth and movement, the researchers calculate that climate change alone will result in an additional 21,000–28,000 hyperthermia ED visits for May to September, with associated treatment costs between $6 million and $52 million (2015 U.S. dollars) by 2050; this increases to approximately 28,000–65,000 additional hyperthermia ED visits with treatment costs between $9 million and $118 million (2015 U.S. dollars) by 2090. The range in projected additional hyperthermia visits reflects the difference between alternative climate scenarios, and the additional range in valuation reflects different assumptions about per-case valuation.