Long-term cocaine use is associated with premature alterations in regional aortic strain and distensibility measured by magnetic resonance imaging
© Redheuil et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010
Published: 21 January 2010
Long-term cocaine use has been associated with regional systolic and diastolic left ventricular dysfunction, hypertension and aortic dissection. The repetitive cardiovascular stress induced by cocaine use may lead to premature arterial stiffening but data on this relationship are scarce and inconsistent.
We studied the relationship between regional aortic stiffness measured by MRI and long-term cocaine use.
We enrolled 46 consecutive subjects from an addiction clinic: 33 long term cocaine users (13 men, 20 women, mean age: 46 ± 7 yrs, mean years of cocaine use: 15 ± 8) and 13 non-cocaine users (6 men, 7 women, mean age: 43 ± 9 yrs). Aortic stiffness of the ascending and descending aorta was determined by MRI from aortic strain (AS: relative difference in cross-sectional area) and distensibility (AD: aortic strain normalized by pulse pressure) using an automated contours detection method applied to modulus images of a phase-contrast acquisition perpendicular to the ascending aorta (Art-Fun, INSERM). Blood pressure was measured by a brachial cuff during aortic MRI. Drug and smoking habitus was determined by a standardized questionnaire.
Comparison of the aortic ascending and descending strain and distensibility of the cocaine
Ascending Aortic Strain, %
18 ± 4
17 ± 8
Ascending Aortic Distensibility, 10-3.kPa-1
35 ± 13
29 ± 16
Descending Aortic Strain, %
18 ± 6
16 ± 5
Descending Aortic Distensibility, 10-3.kPa-1
31 ± 14
27 ± 13
Long-term cocaine use is associated with premature regional stiffening of the aorta. This association was stronger for the descending aorta for which duration of cocaine use was found to be an independent predictor of vascular function beyond the effects of age and traditional risk factors.
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.