Objective: There is growing evidence regarding the numerous adverse effects of synthetic cannabinoids (SCBs) on the cardiovascular system; however, no studies have shown the cardiovascular effects of opioids using strain echocardiography. This study examines the cardiac structure and function using echocardiographic strain imaging in heroin and synthetic cannabinoid users.
Methods: This double-blind study included patients who were admitted or referred to a rehabilitation center for heroin (n=31) and synthetic cannabinoid users (n=30). Heroin users and synthetic cannabinoid users were compared with healthy volunteers (n=32) using two-dimensional (2D) speckle-tracking (ST) echocardiography.
Results: No differences were found in the baseline characteristics and 2D echocardiography values. The mean global longitudinal strain value was -20.5%±2.4% for SCB users, -22.3%±2.4% for opioid users, and -22.5%±2.2% for healthy volunteers (p=0.024). The mean apical 2-chamber (AP2C) L-strain values were -20.1%±3.1%, -22.4%±3.0%, and -22.3%±2.8% for SCB users, opioid users, and healthy volunteers, respectively (p=0.032). The mean apical 4-chamber (AP4C) L-strain values were -20.7%±2.5% for SCB users, -23.2%±3.2% for opioid users, and -23.8%±3.1% for healthy volunteers (p<0.001).
Conclusion: SCBs are potential causes of subclinical left ventricular dysfunction.