Objective: To evaluate the prevalence and significance of khat chewing in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
Patients and methods: From January 29, 2007, through July 29, 2007, 8176 consecutive patients presenting with ACS were enrolled in a prospective, multicenter study from 6 adjacent Middle Eastern countries.
Results: Of the 8176 study patients, 7242 (88.6%) were non-khat chewers, and 934 (11.4%) were khat chewers, mainly of Yemeni origin. Khat chewers were older (57 vs 56 years; P=.01) and more likely to be men (85.7% vs 74.5%) compared with non-khat chewers. Non-khat chewers were more likely to have diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, and prior history of coronary artery disease and revascularization. Cigarette smoking was more prevalent in khat chewers, and they were more likely to present greater than 12 hours after onset of symptoms compared with non-khat chewers. At admission, khat chewers had higher heart rate, Killip class, and Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events risk scores. Khat chewers had a significantly higher risk of cardiogenic shock, stroke, and mortality. After adjustment of baseline variables, khat chewing was an independent risk factor for in-hospital mortality (odds ratio, 1.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.3-2.7; P<.001) and stroke (odds ratio, 2.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.3-5.9; P=.01).
Conclusion: In this large cohort of patients with ACS, khat chewing was prevalent and was associated with increased risk of stroke and death. In the context of increasing global migration, a greater awareness of potential widespread practices is essential.