NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Research suggests a link between a disease of the heart muscle called cardiomyopathy and use of methamphetamine — a powerfully addictive illegal stimulant drug, also known as meth, crank, crystal, and speed.
A chart review of patients aged 45 and younger discharged from a medical center in Honolulu, Hawaii, with a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy or heart failure revealed a high prevalence of methamphetamine abuse in this population.
Methamphetamine use more than triples the risk of cardiomyopathy, report Dr. Khung-Keong Yeo of the University of California, Davis Medical Center in Sacramento and colleagues in The American Journal of Medicine.
Yeo’s team conducted a case-control study of all patients aged 45 and younger discharged with a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy between January 2001 and June 2003. There were 107 patients. These were compared with 114 controls matched for age but discharged without evidence of heart trouble.
After adjusting for age, body weight and renal failure, Yeo and colleagues report that the odds of cardiomyopathy was 3.7-fold higher in methamphetamine users compared with non-users.
“There are many speculated causes” of methamphetamine-related cardiomyopathy, Yeo told Reuters Health. “These include spasm of the (heart) arteries, direct toxicity, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, and enhanced atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
SOURCE: American Journal of Medicine, February 2007.