Which cardiovascular findings suggest methamphetamine toxicity?

Updated: Aug 15, 2018
  • Author: John R Richards, MD, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Answer

Cardiovascular findings are as follows:

  • Tachycardia and hypertension is frequently observed [49]

  • Atrial and ventricular arrhythmias may occur [49]

  • Chest pain from cardiac ischemia and infarction following methamphetamine use has been reported; patients are at risk because of accelerated atherosclerosis from chronic use; acute aortic dissection or aneurysm has been associated with methamphetamine abuse [36, 33]

  • Hypotension may be observed with methamphetamine overdose with profound depletion of catecholamines [50]

  • Acute and chronic cardiomyopathy results directly from methamphetamine cardiac toxicity and indirectly from chronic hypertension and ischemia; intravenous use may result in endocarditis; patients may present with dyspnea, edema, and other signs of acute congestive heart failure (CHF) exacerbation [51, 34]


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