London: Passive smoking can increase platelet activation in healthy people leading to formation of blood clots which can damage many organs including the kidneys, heart and brain.
Researchers from the Erciyes University in Turkey found that passive smoking increased levels of platelet activation, lactate and carbon monoxide in the blood. Platelet activation is indicated by Mean platelet volume (MPV) that is increased in acute thrombotic events.
In thrombotic events, microscopic clots are formed in the small blood vessels.
Lactate can accumulate in the blood when the supply of oxygen to blood cells is limited.
For the study, 55 healthy nonsmoker volunteers, 30 per cent males among them were prospectively enrolled.
Blood samples were taken at baseline and after spending one an hour in a smoking room to measure MPV and lactate levels.
Researchers also measured levels of COHb (formed when carbon monoxide (CO) binds with hemoglobin (Hb) in red blood cells).
The blood levels of all three parameters were statistically higher after subjects were exposed to passive smoking.
"These results show that passive smoking increases platelet activation and increases CO and lactate levels in the blood," Dr Mehmet G Kaya said in a statement.
Researchers found significant correlations between MPV and COHb levels.
"Previous studies have suggested that the chemicals in cigarette smoke, especially nicotine and CO, increase platelet-activating factor. The correlations found in our study suggest that the CO in cigarette smoke also increases MPV levels. It is likely that lactate levels increased because oxygen levels in the blood dropped as CO increased," Kaya added.
"We have shown that 1 hour exposure to passive smoking increases platelet activation, which could be the mechanism by which it contributes to increased risk of thrombotic events in healthy people," he said.
The research was presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2012.