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Many WTC Responders Show Early Signs of Heart Problems

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Law enforcement officers who worked near ground zero after the World Trade Center attacks seem to show early signs of heart problems at a higher rate than would be expected for their age, a new study suggests.

Nearly half of about 1,200 law enforcement workers who went to Mount Sinai Medical Center's program in New York to monitor medical effects from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack showed some impaired heart function on ultrasound tests. The study was released Saturday at an American College of Cardiology conference.

"This is the first study to suggest a potential link between exposure to ground zero and early preclinical heart abnormalities," said Dr. Lori Croft, who led the work. Inhaling dust particles that can cause lung and heart disease may be to blame, she said.

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