Wild at Heart: 34-year-old Male With New Onset Dyspnea, Heart Failure and History of Amphetamine Use; A Case Report

Egypt Heart J. 2019 Oct 28;71(1):20. doi: 10.1186/s43044-019-0026-y.


Background: Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is a rather rare cause of acute coronary syndrome with a preponderance for young female patients. Amphetamines are now the second most widely used substance drugs in the world and they are associated with a myriad of cardiac diseases including cardiomyopathies and SCADs. There is much uncertainty regarding the best treatment strategy in such cases and decision-making remains mostly individualized and based on expert opinions.

Case presentation: A 34-year-old male with an unremarkable past medical history presented to a cardiologist with prominent dyspnea and orthopnea. He reported occasional methamphetamine use from 3 years before the presentation. An echocardiogram showed an enlarged left ventricle and severe systolic dysfunction with an ejection fraction of 10-15%. Coronary angiography revealed multiple linear dissections in both left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) and left circumflex coronary artery (LCX). The patient's right coronary artery (RCA) showed occlusion in the proximal segment. The patient was diagnosed with amphetamine-induced spontaneous coronary artery dissection and resultant ischemic cardiomyopathy. After thorough evaluation, medical treatment ensued.

Conclusions: Methamphetamine abusers have a 3.7 fold risk of developing some form of a cardiomyopathy in comparison to individuals without amphetamine abuse. Coronary artery dissection and increased thrombus burden are some of the mechanisms responsible for ischemic cardiomyopathy in these groups of patients.

Keywords: Ischemic cardiomyopathy; Methamphetamine abuse; Spontaneous coronary artery dissection.