Young Patients with Chest Pain May Be Cocaine Users

By Boschert, Sherry | Clinical Psychiatry News, February 2007 | Go to article overview

Young Patients with Chest Pain May Be Cocaine Users


Boschert, Sherry, Clinical Psychiatry News


SAN FRANCISCO -- Consider cocaine use as a cause of chest pain, especially in young patients, Dr. Priscilla Hsue said at a meeting sponsored by the California chapter of the American College of Cardiology.

In 2004, 2 million Americans were cocaine users, and cocaine was the most frequently used illicit drug among patients who sought care in emergency departments. About 6% of patients with cocaine-associated chest pain who are seen in emergency departments develop myocardial infraction, one study has suggested.

"I was covering the cardiology service a couple of weeks ago, and almost every day 50% of our admissions were for some kind of side effect from cocaine," said Dr. Hsue, who is with San Francisco General Hospital. "This is something we see so often."

Patients with cocaine-related chest pain, unstable angina, or MI tend to be younger than 40 years old, male, and cigarette smokers who have no other risk factors for coronary artery disease. Chronic and first-time cocaine users have the same risk for MI. Symptoms can appear within minutes or hours after exposure to any dose of cocaine via any route--smoking, snorting, or ingesting. …

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