Injected drug use can cause severe heart infections, says study

Injected drug use can cause severe heart infections, says study

Cardiovascular disorders are common in the United States but young whites are now exhibiting symptoms of grievous heart infections caused due to reasons hitherto unknown. Scientists attribute the same to rise in injection drug use among the young white population living in the country. A group of researchers in their study titled “Increasing Infectious Endocarditis Admissions Among Young People Who Inject Drugs” have suggested that people who inject drugs (PWID) face a greater risk of being afflicted with infective endocarditis (IE).

The study that got published online in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases in July 2016 examined how increasing percentage of drug users admitted to hospitals for treatment of IE indicate similar drifts in nationwide opioid abuse. Elaborating on the need to carry out a research in this direction, one of the co-authors of the study, Dr. Alysse G. Wurcel from Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston said, “These infections are dangerous and often need surgery, and people who inject drugs frequently get these infections. We are seeing across the country that injection drug use is not necessarily an urban or an impoverished community issue. The racial, age, and gender distributions are changing.”

The researchers, for study purposes, made use of publicly available details of inpatient discharges from community hospitals across the nation that were assessed to evaluate national estimates. They found that between 2000 and 2013, there was an overall rise from seven percent to 12 percent in the number of patients hospitalized for IE. These patients had been afflicted with the disorder owing to injected drug use based on diagnostic codes.

Shifts in demographic trends observed nationwide

Shifts in demographic trends were also observed by the researchers. The percentage of 15- to 34- year-old patients admitted to hospitals for heart infections stemming from drug use rose from 27 percent to 42 percent between 2000 and 2013. The percentage of similar hospitalizations among whites rose from 40 percent to almost 69 percent. Though the number of hospitalized females was less, still female patients accounted for 53 percent of the total patients in the age bracket of 15-34 years.

Elucidating the need for more programs to extend long-term care of patients afflicted with such infections, Wurcel added that these infections cost a burden to health care services and are extremely deadly. The need of the hour is to take more preventive measures and educate the young about the dangers of opioid use as well as the damaging impact of injection drug use. The researchers also emphasize on making available clean needles and syringes to drug users so that the infections can be minimized.

Road to recovery

This study is the first of its kind as it investigates the genesis of hospitalization owing to drug injections. Moreover, the rates at which people are being admitted to emergency rooms due to abuse of prescription medications and heroin have aggravated in the past few years, thus, making it necessary to evaluate problems related to illicit drug use.

Drug overdose is the leading cause of death among Americans. The tendency to get high on drugs is further fueled by easy accessibility of prescription opioids and legalized medical use of marijuana in few states. Addiction of any kind is dangerous and must be treated.

If you or your loved one is addicted to drugs including prescription painkillers, the California Drug Addiction Helpline can help you find one of the best drug rehab centers in California. You can call us at our 24/7 helpline 855-980-1946 or chat online with experts to know more about the top rehab centers in California that offer diagnostic assessment in a soothing environment to help a person recover well.