Methamphetamine Heart Failure May Present New Phenotype

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Among veterans, prevalence of heart failure related to meth increased linearly from 2005 to 2015
Among veterans, prevalence of heart failure related to meth increased linearly from 2005 to 2015

HealthDay News — Heart failure due to methamphetamine use is increasing in prevalence among U.S. veterans, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions, being held November 11 to 15 in Anaheim, California.

Marin Nishimura, MD, from the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues assessed the risk of heart failure due to methamphetamine use among 9,588 patients with a diagnosis of heart failure treated at San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center between 2005 and 2015. ICD-9 codes identified 480 of the patients as having a known history of methamphetamine abuse. 

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The researchers found that over the study period, the prevalence of methamphetamine usage among patients with heart failure increased linearly. A preliminary cohort comparison showed that patients with heart failure due to methamphetamine use had similar ejection fraction and B-type natriuretic peptide levels compared with those without methamphetamine use but trends toward increased troponin levels, more atrial fibrillation, and a higher glomerular filtration rate. Patients with heart failure due to methamphetamine also had a greater risk of emergency room visits (2.3 versus 0.5 per year; P=0.01) and a trend toward a greater risk of all-cause hospital readmission (1.3 versus 0.6 per year; P=0.09).

"In addition to other health problems associated with the drug, clinicians are seeing more heart failure with meth use, suggesting heart failure due to methamphetamine use could be a new epidemic," Nishimura said in a statement.

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