Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lethal Heart Condition Traced To Cocaine Use

Date:
March 12, 2002
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
Cocaine can cause a lethal tearing in the heart’s main artery, a condition that should be suspected in people treated for chest pain at urban hospitals, say researchers in today’s rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. A preliminary report of the study was presented at the American Heart Association’s annual Scientific Sessions last November.

DALLAS, March 12 – Cocaine can cause a lethal tearing in the heart’s main artery, a condition that should be suspected in people treated for chest pain at urban hospitals, say researchers in today’s rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. A preliminary report of the study was presented at the American Heart Association’s annual Scientific Sessions last November.

The condition called aortic dissection occurs when the lining of the aorta – the major blood vessel carrying blood from the heart – tears, exposing the inner layer. Cocaine use is not a commonly recognized risk factor for aortic dissection, which usually occurs in older people with high blood pressure. However, researchers at San Francisco General Hospital noticed younger patients coming to the hospital with aortic dissection due to cocaine use.

“Most patients came to the hospital with chest pain shortly after drug use, and one developed symptoms while smoking crack,” says primary researcher Priscilla Y. Hsue, M.D., division of cardiology, San Francisco General Hospital.

Cocaine use causes an increase in stress hormones that can cause blood pressure to quickly rise. This may tear the lining of the vessel, which can allow blood to enter and rip it even further, says Hsue. The dissection may stop blood from reaching critical organs, or even cause the aorta to rupture.

“In urban settings, aortic dissection should be considered when young people come to the emergency room with severe chest pain, especially if they have other risk factors like high blood pressure and smoking,” says Hsue. “It’s very important to get a rapid diagnosis. For untreated aortic dissection, the mortality rate can be as high as 35 percent within the first 24 hours. After 48 hours the death rate rises to about 50 percent.”

Researchers reviewed hospital charts from 1981-2001 looking for cases of aortic dissection. They recorded demographic information as well as information on cocaine use and coronary risk factors. Of the 38 cases found, 37 percent were related to cocaine use. Cocaine users were younger (average age of 41 vs. 59 in non-cocaine users), more likely to be African American, and all smoked cigarettes.

Hypertension had been diagnosed in 79 percent of the cocaine users, 71 percent had documented left ventricular hypertrophy (thickening of the heart wall), and at least 64 percent were not taking their prescribed anti-hypertensive medication.

Twenty-nine percent of the cocaine users died in the hospital, which was almost twice the death rate of the non-cocaine users.

Co-authors of the study include: Cynthia L. Salinas, M.D.; Ann F. Bolger, M.D.; Neal L. Benowitz, M.D.; and David D. Waters, M.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Lethal Heart Condition Traced To Cocaine Use." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020312073711.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2002, March 12). Lethal Heart Condition Traced To Cocaine Use. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020312073711.htm
American Heart Association. "Lethal Heart Condition Traced To Cocaine Use." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020312073711.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins