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Myocardial Damage Found in Asymptomatic Cocaine Addicts

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging identifies cardiac damage in asymptomatic cocaine addicts

FRIDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging detects a high prevalence of cardiac damage in asymptomatic cocaine addicts, according to a study published online June 20 in Heart.

Giovanni Donato Aquaro, M.D., from the Gabriele Monasterio CNR-Tuscany Foundation in Italy, and colleagues used CMR imaging to investigate the prevalence of myocardial damage in 30 cocaine addicts with no history of cardiac disease. The participants (25 men and five women, with an average age of 39 years) underwent a thorough cardiac investigation, including echocardiography, B-type natriuretic peptide and troponin I assay, exercise stress test, 24-hour echocardiogram (ECG) recording, and CMR examination 24 hours after the withdrawal of cocaine.

The investigators found all participants except for one were negative for biohumoral markers of cardiac involvement. Subtle abnormalities at resting ECG were seen in 15 participants, and there was evidence of wall motion abnormalities in 12 individuals based on ECGs. There were no indications of ischemic or arrhythmic events as evaluated by exercise stress and Holter investigations. Myocardial involvement was identified in 25 participants (83 percent), edema in 14 participants (47 percent), and fibrosis in 22 participants (73 percent) at the CMR assessment. Myocardial edema and fibrosis were seen concurrently in 11 individuals, and in nine participants they were colocalized. Ischemic patterns of fibrosis were detected in seven individuals, and 15 had non-ischemic patterns of fibrosis.

"A high prevalence of cardiac damage in asymptomatic cocaine addicts can be found by CMR examination," the authors write.

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