UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Cardiology

Title: cocaine and the heart

Keywords: cocaine, cardiovascular, myocardial infarction (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/1/2011 by Amal Mattu, MD (Updated: 6/24/2024)
Click here to contact Amal Mattu, MD

Cocaine-associated MI occurs fairly early after acute cocaine use. 50% of MIs occur in patients prior to their arrival in the ED, and 24% of the total will occur within the first hour of cocaine use. If a patient has not ruled in by 12 hours post-arrival in the ED, it is extremely unlikely that the patient will rule in or suffer ACS-related complications from the cocaine....thus the concept behind using rapid rule out protocols in these patients.

The most important thing we as physicians can do for these patients is to strongly emphasize discontinuation of cocaine use and refer to rehab whenever possible. If the patient discontinues using cocaine, the prognosis for absence of subsequent cardiac events is excellent.

[thanks to Dr. Ellen Lemkin for her contribution to this pearl}



Schwartz BG. Cardiovascular effects of cocaine. Circulation 2011;122:2558-2569.