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Review
, 106 (6), 893-901

Cardiac and Metabolic Effects of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Abuse on Lipids, Blood Pressure, Left Ventricular Dimensions, and Rhythm

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Review

Cardiac and Metabolic Effects of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Abuse on Lipids, Blood Pressure, Left Ventricular Dimensions, and Rhythm

Suraj Achar et al. Am J Cardiol.

Abstract

Recent surveys and reports suggest that many athletes and bodybuilders abuse anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS). However, scientific data on the cardiac and metabolic complications of AAS abuse are divergent and often conflicting. A total of 49 studies describing 1,467 athletes were reviewed to investigate the cardiovascular effects of the abuse of AAS. Although studies were typically small and retrospective, some associated AAS abuse with unfavorable effects. Otherwise healthy young athletes abusing AAS may show elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein and low levels of high-density lipoprotein. Although data are conflicting, AAS have also been linked with elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure and with left ventricular hypertrophy that may persist after AAS cessation. Finally, in small case studies, AAS abuse has been linked with acute myocardial infarction and fatal ventricular arrhythmias. In conclusion, recognition of these adverse effects may improve the education of athletes and increase vigilance when evaluating young athletes with cardiovascular abnormalities.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Electrocardiogram of a 25-year-old male athlete presenting with acute MI, showing anterior precordial Q waves and ST-segment elevation. The patient, who admitted to recent nandrolone abuse, had been previously healthy and without cardiac risk factors. Angiography revealed thrombosis in the left anterior descending coronary artery but no significant atherosclerotic narrowing. Reproduced from Recent Prog Horm Res.

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