Miércoles 18 de Mayo de 2005, Ip nº 109

Cocaine linked to increased risk of aneurysms
People who use cocaine could be raising their risk of dangerous aneurysms, U.S. researchers reported Monday.

Cocaine users in their mid-40s had more than four times the risk of coronary artery aneurysms as non-users, the researchers reported in the journal Circulation.

“These findings may also help explain why cocaine users have a higher risk of heart attack,” said the American Heart Association, which publishes the journal, in a statement.

“We found a significantly higher percentage of aneurysms in patients who had used cocaine than in a group of patients of similar age who did not,” said Dr. Timothy Henry of the University of Minnesota, who led the study, in the statement.

The researchers looked at coronary artery aneurysms — weak spots in the arteries that carry blood to the heart. These rarely burst and are not as deadly an aneurysms in the brain or aorta. But they may contribute to heart attacks.

“It looks as if cocaine predisposes to coronary artery aneurysms, and then the aneurysms themselves may predispose to heart attacks,” Henry said.

Henry and colleagues looked at the records of 191 men and women in their 40s, including 112 cocaine users, who had angiogram scans.

Three cardiologists examined each angiogram and the team found what looked like aneurysms in the coronary arteries of 30.4 percent of the cocaine users compared to 7.6 percent of the non-users.

About 95 percent of the cocaine users smoked cigarettes, compared to 71 percent of the non-users. Cigarette smoking can also predispose people to both heart attacks and aneurysms.

Henry said cocaine might cause sharp spikes in blood pressure that damage the cells that line the inner walls of the heart’s arteries. Or it could be that once an aneurysm forms, it causes blood turbulence that in turn causes clots to form and block blood flow.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that in 2001, 27.7 million Americans age 12 and older had used cocaine at least once.

  09/05/2005. MSNBC News.