Background. This study was performed to determine whether chronic cocaine abuse is associated with left ventricular hypertrophy in humans. Methods and Results. A consecutive series of 40 chronic cocaine abusers 23-44 years old who were enrolled in an inpatient drug rehabilitation program were considered for the study. Subjects with elevated resting blood pressure (n=4) or a history of hypertension (n=3) were excluded. Technically adequate two-dimensional echocardiograms were obtained in 30 cocaine abusers and 30 age- and race-matched normal control subjects. All subjects were men, and the groups were similar with regard to resting blood pressure, height, weight, and body surface area. All echocardiograms were read in blinded fashion, and left ventricular mass was calculated by the area-length method. Left ventricular cavity dimensions and wall motion were normal in all subjects. Left ventricular mass index was higher in the cocaine group (103±24 versus 77±14 g/m2, p=0.0001). Posterior wall thickness was increased (1.2 cm or more) in 13 cocaine abusers (43%) compared with four controls (p=0.0099). Conclusions. Chronic cocaine abuse is associated with increased left ventricular mass index and wall thickness. Left ventricular hypertrophy may provide a substrate facilitating the development of myocardial ischemia and/or arrhythmias in cocaine abusers.
- Left ventricular hypertrophy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)