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Many Heavy Cocaine Users May Have Symptomless Heart Damage

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A study that examined the hearts of heavy cocaine users found that 83 percent had structural damage in their heart, even though they didn’t have any symptoms.

HealthDay reports that the study included 30 long-term cocaine users, who had been using about 5.5 grams of cocaine per day for an average of 12 years. The participants had entered a drug rehabilitation program 48 hours after they last used cocaine. Their heart function was normal, but scans of the heart revealed that 83 percent had structural damage, and 47 percent had swelling, or edema, in the lower left ventricle of the heart.

The study also found that 73 percent had scarred tissue in their heart, the researchers reported in the journal Heart. They noted that edema can be reversible, but scarring is not.

According to the American Heart Association, several heart-related complications are closely related to cocaine use, including chest pain syndromes, heart attacks, heart failure and strokes.

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