Asymptomatic Cocaine Abuse - Myocardial Tissue Characterization Using Cardiac Biomarkers and Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging

  • BACKGROUND: Use of cocaine is widespread and associated with several cardiovascular diseases. Recent CMR studies indicate frequent myocardial scar/fibrosis in asymptomatic cocaine abusers (CA).Methods and Results:This study used a combination of advanced CMR tissue characterization techniques, including late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) for focal, and extracellular volume (ECV) imaging for diffuse myocardial injury/fibrosis, with circulating biomarkers for a comprehensive characterization of myocardial injury. We included 20 cardiac asymptomatic CA and a control group of 20 healthy volunteers. The comprehensive assessment included physical examination, resting ECG, exercise ECG, cardiac biomarkers, transthoracic echocardiogram and CMR. We did not find significant differences between CA and controls either in functional CMR parameters such as LVEDVi, LVESVi, LVEF, LV mass index, or in global myocardial ECV. Neither CA nor controls had evidence of myocardial edema on T2-weighted CMR, but 8 CA (40%), and none of the controls had focal myocardial scar (P<0.01). Interestingly, CA with focal myocardial scar on LGE had significantly higher high-sensitivity troponin I (hs-TNI) compared with CA without focal scar (median, 1.7 ng/L; IQR, 1.3-2.5 ng/L vs. 0.6 ng/L; 0.4-1.3 ng/L; P<0.01).

    CONCLUSIONS: Focal myocardial injury in terms of subtle LGE in 40% of asymptomatic CA was associated with higher hs-TNI. Comprehensive assessment including advanced ECV imaging indicates a focal rather than diffuse pattern of myocardial involvement in asymptomatic CA.

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