Cocaine and the heart

Clin Cardiol. 2010 May;33(5):264-9. doi: 10.1002/clc.20746.


The use of cocaine may be associated with either acute or chronic toxicity, and approximately 5% to 10% of emergency department visits in the United States are believed to be secondary to cocaine usage. Chest pain is the most common cocaine-related medical problem, leading to the evaluation of approximately 64,000 patients annually for possible myocardial infarction, of which approximately 57% are admitted to the hospital, resulting in an annual cost greater than $83 million. There is a plethora of cocaine-related cardiovascular complications, including acute myocardial ischemia and infarction, arrhythmias, sudden death, myocarditis, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, aortic ruptures, and endocarditis. There is no evidence to suggest that preexisting vascular disease is a prerequisite for the development of a cocaine-related cardiovascular event, although it may be a potentiating factor, as may be nicotine and alcohol.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angina Pectoris / chemically induced
  • Angina Pectoris / economics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / economics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects*
  • Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / economics
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / physiopathology
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / economics
  • Health Care Costs
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • United States


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Cocaine