Acute stent thrombosis in the setting of cocaine abuse following percutaneous coronary intervention

J Interv Cardiol. 2009 Feb;22(1):77-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8183.2008.00386.x. Epub 2008 Sep 4.


The treatment of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in patients with documented cocaine abuse has always presented significant challenges. Issues related to medication compliance, the potential risks of beta adrenergic blockade, and possible continued cocaine abuse postmyocardial infarction necessitate a unique, individualized approach to these patients. Recent data in the era of extensive percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) and intracoronary stent (ICS) implantation have raised questions regarding the safety of ICS in patients who may revert to cocaine abuse postacute coronary syndrome as a result of the potentially higher risk of stent thrombosis in these patients. While the precise reason as to why cocaine use may increase the risk of stent thrombosis is not fully understood, it is likely the result of a confluence of factors, including coronary vessel vasoconstriction, impaired vascular compliance, as well as the platelet-activating effect of cocaine. We present the case a 46-year-old male with a history of cocaine abuse who presented with an acute stent thrombosis 2 days post-PCI likely as a result of cocaine abuse on the day of discharge following initial stent implantation for a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI). We also review the literature regarding the safety of PCI in cocaine abusers.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / complications*
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / therapy*
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary
  • Cocaine / adverse effects
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stents / adverse effects*
  • Thrombosis / diagnosis
  • Thrombosis / etiology*
  • Thrombosis / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cocaine