Cocaine and coronary artery diseases: a systematic review of the literature

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Abstract

Cocaine is associated with important cardiac complications such as sudden death, acute myocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy, life-threatening arrhythmias, and myocardial ischemia as well as infarction. It is well known that cocaine may induce vasospasm through adrenergic stimulation of the coronary arteries. Moreover, cocaine may promote intracoronary thrombosis, triggered by alterations in the plasma constituents, and platelet aggregation, leading to subsequent myocardial infarction. The long-term use of cocaine may stimulate atherosclerosis, probably through endothelial cell dysfunction. Significant and severe coronary atherosclerosis is common in young chronic cocaine users and there is probably a relationship between the duration and frequency of cocaine use and the extent of coronary disease.

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