Amphetamine Abuse May Lead to Heart Attack
> 6/25/2008 4:11:36 PM

After examining medical records for over 3 million individuals admitted to Texas hospitals between 2000 and 2003, researchers from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have identified a link between amphetamine abuse and heart attack risk. An astonishing 11,011 acute myocardial infarctions (commonly called heart attacks) were identified within this data set. The team from Southwestern then ran statistical analyses that allowed them to control for confounding factors including cocaine abuse, alcohol abuse, tobacco use, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, lipid disorders, obesity, congenital defects, and coagulation defects. Amphetamine abuse was found to be strongly correlated with risk of acute myocardial infarction even after researchers accounted for all these potentially aggravating factors. 

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the team's results was the fact that the cohort they examined consisted only of individuals between the ages of 18 and 44. The researchers were specifically interested in determining how amphetamine abuse affects younger hearts, and their results point to an abnormally high risk for potentially fatal cardiac events even among this young group. According to the study's conclusions, its collected data indicates that amphetamine may be responsible for two out of every 1000 heart attacks across the state of Texas. The research team, led by assistant professor of psychiatry Arthur Westover, M.D., published their findings in the July issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

“Most people aren’t surprised that methamphetamines and amphetamines are bad for your health,” Dr. Westover said in a release. “But we are concerned because heart attacks in the young are rare and can be very debilitating or deadly.”

"We’re also concerned that the number of amphetamine-related heart attacks could be increasing,” Dr. Westover continued. “We’d rather raise the warning flag now than later. Hopefully, we can decrease the number of people who suffer heart attacks as the result of amphetamine abuse.”

The use of amphetamines, including meth and other varities, continues to be cause for concern. SAMHSA recently reported that amphetamine-related hospital admissions continue to rise across the country. And as Dr. Westover points out, the cardiac events related to this drug are debilitating and deadly. Addressing the roots of abuse, as well as treating those who want to break their addictions, can prevent these potentialities, which makes confronting the amphetamine issue all the more worthwhile.

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