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Methamphetamine-Linked Heart Failure Up in California

Increase of 585 percent seen in methamphetamine-associated cardiomyopathy/heart failure hospitalizations from 2008 to 2018

WEDNESDAY, July 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — From 2008 to 2018, there was a sharp increase in methamphetamine-associated cardiomyopathy/heart failure (MethHF) hospitalizations and related costs in California, according to a study published online July 14 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Susan X. Zhao, M.D., from the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California, and colleagues examined trends and disease burden of MethHF in California using data from adult patients with HF as the primary hospitalization diagnosis between 2008 and 2018.

The researchers identified 1,033,076 HF hospitalizations between 2008 and 2018: 4.12 percent and 95.88 percent were MethHF and non-MethHF, respectively. From 2008 to 2018, there was a 585 percent increase in age-adjusted MethHF hospitalizations, from 4.1 to 28.1 per 100,000; non-MethHF hospitalizations decreased by 6.0 percent, from 342.3 to 321.6. The rate of increase of MethHF hospitalization was more than double that of a negative control group with urinary tract infection and meth-related secondary diagnoses (7.82-fold versus 3.48-fold). There was an 840 percent increase in annual inflation-adjusted hospitalization charges due to MethHF, from $41.5 million in 2008 to $390.2 million in 2018, compared with an 82 percent increase for all HF hospitalizations (from $3.503 billion to $6.376 billion). MethHF patients were significantly younger and mainly male and had lower Charlson Comorbidity Index scores; however, MethHF patients had longer length of stay, more hospitalizations per patient, and more procedures per stay.

“Proactive, preventative public health outreach and education are needed to stem the influx of methamphetamine-related heart failure at its source,” Zhao said in a statement.

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