Silent myocardial damage in cocaine addicts

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BackgroundCocaine addiction is associated with either ischaemic or non-ischaemic cardiac complications. The prevalence of myocardial damage in asymptomatic addicts has never been evaluated by cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), which allows non-invasive detection of myocardial oedema and fibrosis.ObjectiveTo prospectively evaluate the prevalence of myocardial damage in cocaine addicts with no history of cardiac disease by CMR.MethodsThirty consecutive subjects (25 men, mean age 39±7 years), with no history of cardiac symptoms/disease were evaluated 48 h after the withdrawal of cocaine by a comprehensive humoral, clinical and instrumental assessment, including B-type natriuretic peptide and troponin I assay, echocardiography, exercise stress test and 24 h ECG recording, as well as CMR examination. The CMR study was performed using a 1.5 Tesla scanner. Myocardial oedema was evaluated by a T2-weighted STIR sequence and fibrosis using the late gadolinium enhancement technique.ResultsBiohumoral markers of cardiac involvement were negative in all subjects except one. Fifteen subjects had subtle abnormalities at resting ECG, while exercise stress testing and Holter studies were negative for ischaemic or arrhythmic events. Echocardiography provided evidence of wall motion abnormalities in 12 subjects. At CMR evaluation, myocardial involvement was detected in 25 subjects (83%), oedema in 14 (47%) and fibrosis in 22 (73%). Eleven subjects (37%) showed both myocardial oedema and fibrosis with similar localisations in nine. Seven subjects had ischaemic patterns of fibrosis and 15 had non-ischaemic patterns of fibrosis.ConclusionsA high prevalence of cardiac damage in asymptomatic cocaine addicts can be found by CMR examination.

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