Zachy Hennessey
April 14

Living in green, plant-abundant environments significantly boosts survival rates among heart patients after bypass surgery, according to a new study by Tel Aviv University (TAU) researchers that involved thousands of patients across Israel over more than a decade.

Led by PhD student Maya Sadeh under the guidance of Prof. Rachel Dankner from TAU’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, the study investigated the connection between greenery-rich environments and the mortality rates of over 3,000 patients who underwent bypass surgery between 2004 and 2007.

The study utilized data from NASA’s Landsat satellites to map green vegetation around the areas where the patients resided.

“We divided the residential addresses of the patients into three groups, according to the amount of vegetation in their surroundings, and found a clear significant association between a green environment and the survival of the patients – that is, how many years they continued to live after the operation,” explained Sadeh.

“During the mean time of 12 years following the operation, the risk of mortality for those who lived in a very green environment was lower on average by 7% compared to those who lived in a non-green environment,” she said. 

“We also found that the beneficial relationship is more pronounced among women, who made up 23% of the cohort, and were [on average 5.7 years] older at the time of the surgery compared to the men.”

The researchers suggest several reasons for the positive impact of green environments on recovery, including cleaner air, increased physical activity, a calmer atmosphere and overall better quality of life. 

They believe these findings hold particular relevance in the context of recovering from traumatic events such as bypass surgery.

The study, supported by the Environment and Health Fund and the Israel Science Foundation, was published in the journal Epidemiology.

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