[The present state of knowledge concerning the effect of electromagnetic fields of 50/60 Hz on the circulatory system and the autonomic nervous system].
Diseases of the circulatory system together with neoplastic diseases are recognised as the major health problem in the contemporary world. Their origin and aggravation may be related to the exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) since theoretically, disorders in the functioning of the circulatory system are most likely due to electric impulses generated in it by external magnetic fields. The nervous system, including its autonomic part which regulates, among others, the functioning of the circulatory system, because of its electric nature is another system which may be disturbed by EMFs. From the 1960s, biological studies on the effects of power-line frequency EMFs have been carried out in many countries. In view of the applied study model, four main directions of these studies can be identified: in vitro and in vivo animal experiments, experimental studies on humans, clinical and epidemiological studies. Experimental studies on animals and humans have yielded ambiguous and very often contradictory results. Some of them indicate that EMF contributes to slowing down the cardiac rhythm and the stroke volume of the left ventricle, other results suggest their acceleration, and still other show no differences. The results of clinical studies performed in many countries in different groups of workers exposed to power-line frequency EMFs have not produced the evidence for drawing unequivocal conclusions. Again some studies reveal that those exposed show disorders in neurovegetative and blood pressure regulations (hypotension or hypertension) as well as in cardiac rhythm (bradycardia or tachycardia). Other studies do not confirm harmful effect of EMF on the circulatory system. Therefore, it is not feasible to find out, on the basis of these studies, whether and how chronic exposure to power-line frequency EMFs influences the functioning of the circulatory system, the more so as ECG standard recording has been to date the only diagnostic method, and according to the present state of knowledge it is not sufficient to assess the functioning of the circulatory system. Epidemiological studies play the most important role in the evaluation of health effects of the exposure to power-line frequency EMFs. These studies have been carried out for fifteen years, however, they do not consider the effect of chronic exposure to EMF of 50 Hz frequency on the circulatory system.
Med Pr. 1997;48(4):441-51.