Cocaine can cause symptoms of a heart attack

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According to new research from the U.S., using cocaine can cause chest pain and other symptoms similar to a heart attack.

The researchers say when young patients are brought to hospital emergency departments complaining of chest pain, doctors need to ask if they have used cocaine; they say this should be part of new guidelines.

The research has revealed that between 1995 and 2002, the number of cocaine users brought into emergency rose by 47 percent.

Dr. James McCord says the symptoms that they experienced from the cocaine were very similar to a heart attack.

The American Heart Association is now urging ER doctors to ask young patients who are brought to the hospital complaining of chest pain if they have used the drug.

According to the researchers, cocaine can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, anxiety, palpitations, dizziness, nausea and heavy sweating and unless a doctor knows what they are dealing with, the standard treatment for heart attacks such as beta-blockers and clot-busting drugs, could be given with tragic results if a patient has been using cocaine.

Cocaine increases blood pressure which in turn can increase the risk of bleeding into the brain if a patient is given clot-busting drugs; beta-blockers can cause higher blood pressure and constricted arteries in people who have used cocaine.

Experts say in a small percentage of users cocaine can actually cause a heart attack.

Cocaine-related chest pain usually occurs within three hours of using the drug, but the drug can stay in the body for at least 18 hours and continue to cause problems.

The new guidelines say cocaine users with chest pain should be monitored in an observation unit for nine to 12 hours.

While only about 1 percent to 6 percent of patients with cocaine-associated chest pain actually have a heart attack, doctors maintain it is important for anyone with chest pain to get checked out.

The research is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Comments

  1. john wilkinson john wilkinson United States says:

    This was so helpful, I have been using this specific drug for a week straight and have had chest pains today, before going to the doctor I did a quick google search and this was the number one choice and it helped me calm down and relax. Now i'm doing better and saved myself 150 dollars, so thank you.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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