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Methamphetamine Can Cause Aortic Rupture in Young People

Young people who use methamphetamine suffer a 300% increased chance of aortic dissection, an often fatal tear in the main artery leading from the heart.
An aortic dissection begins as a small tear in the inner layer of the aorta, the body’s largest artery. The blood that separates through this tear can lead to a complete rupture of the artery, which is life threatening and often lethal.


Researchers at UT Southwestern say that young people who use methamphetamine have a threefold increased risk for this condition – coming to this conclusion after studying the medical records of an astonishing 31 million people between the ages of 18 and 49 who were hospitalized between 1995 and 2007.  

In commenting on the results, study lead researcher, Dr. Arthur Westover said, "Aortic dissection in young people is rare, but it frequently can lead to death. Doctors should screen young adults with aortic dissection for amphetamine abuse in searching for a potential cause."

Methamphetamine causes elevated blood pressure and pulse rates, 2 known causes of aortic tears. Methamphetamine use amongst older adults did not seem to increase a person’s risk for aortic tears. Dr. Westover has previously shown that methamphetamine use increases the risks of heart attack and stroke.

The full research results can be found published in the August edition of American Heart Journal

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