24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Health Tip: Signs of Food PoisoningSepsis Causes Far More Deaths Worldwide Than ThoughtMillennials Most Likely to Skip Flu Shot, Believe 'Anti-Vaxxer' Claims: PollResearchers Alter Mosquitoes to Resist Dengue InfectionMany Americans Are Inactive, With Southerners Faring WorseVirtual Reality Can Bring Real-Life PainAre Doctors Discarding 'Injured' Kidneys That Might Be Used for Transplant?Nerve Stimulation Therapy Could Cut Fibromyalgia PainWhich Obesity Surgery Is Right for You?Brake Dust Another Driver of Air PollutionWhat Works Best to Help Men With Overactive Bladder?More Studies Link Vaping to Asthma, COPDCertain Diabetes Meds May Lower Gout Risk, TooHeart Transplants From Donors With Hepatitis C May Be Safe: StudyClimate Change May Translate Into More Fatal InjuriesAll in the Timing: Many Get Knee Replacement Too Late or Too SoonHealth Tip: Preparing for an UltrasoundLow Levels of Key Blood Cells Could Signal Higher Death RiskGyms Are Fertile Ground for GermsTwo More Heartburn Meds Recalled Due to Possible CarcinogenZika Damage Showing Up in Babies Deemed 'Normal' at BirthHealth Tip: Coping With Winter NosebleedsHeart Disease May Up Risk of Kidney FailureFlu Cases Surge Early, Could a Tough Season Lie Ahead?Cluster of Unhealthy Risk Factors Could Raise Odds of Recurrent Blood ClotsAHA News: Worried About Dementia? Check This Blood Pressure NumberNew Study Reports Alarming Surge in E-Scooter AccidentsSo Long, 98.6: Average Human Body Temperature Is DroppingWhat Matters More for Obesity Risk, Genes or Lifestyle?Health Tip: Protect Yourself From Household ChemicalsOzone, Wood Smoke Raise Odds of COPD in Smokers and NonsmokersSmog May Be Bad for Your BonesEver Get a Rash from Your Skin Cream or Makeup? Here's WhyHealth Tip: 5 Eye Myths DebunkedHealth Tip: Allergic Reaction First AidTB Vaccine More Powerful When Given IntravenouslyGene Therapy May Be Long-Term Cure for Type of HemophiliaClots in Space: Astronaut's Blocked Vein Brings Medical InsightHealth Tip: Help Your Child Safely Lose WeightPatients Often Bring Undetected 'Superbug' to the Hospital: StudyExperimental Drug Could Be New Option Against ArthritisBanned for Decades, DDT and Dioxins Are Still Harming U.S. BabiesHealth Tip: When Bruising is a Red FlagAmericans Need to Tackle Youth Obesity: U.S. Task ForceFestive Foods Can Leave Those on Restricted Diets Out in the ColdHow You Can Be Overfat Without Being OverweightSleep Disturbances May Trigger MigraineOlder Blood Safe as New Blood for TransfusionsHealth Tip: Home Care for Stomach CrampsCould You Be Allergic to Additives?
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Diabetes

Opioid Epidemic Tied to Doubling of Dangerous Heart Infections

HealthDay News
by By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Sep 18th 2019

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Addiction and overdose deaths aren't the only consequence of America's opioid epidemic. Cases of a potentially deadly heart infection have risen alarmingly, too, a new study finds.

This bacterial infection, called infective endocarditis, often affects young, poor white men who share needles. Many also have HIV, hepatitis C and alcohol abuse, the researchers said.

Looking at data on nearly 1 million patients with infective endocarditis, the investigators found that drug abuse was involved in 16% of cases in 2016 -- twice the percentage seen in 2002.

"Nationwide, public health measures need to be implemented to address this epidemic, with targeted regional measures specifically addressed to patients at risk," said lead researcher Dr. Serge Harb. He's an assistant professor of medicine at Cleveland Clinic's College of Medicine, in Ohio.

To combat the increase in infective endocarditis, teams are needed that include cardiologists, infectious disease specialists, cardiac surgeons, nurses, addiction specialists, case managers and social workers, he said.

"Appropriately treating the infection is only one part of the management plan," Harb said. "Helping these patients address their addictive behaviors, providing social support, and getting them to effective rehabilitation programs are key aspects in their optimal care and to prevent relapses."

Infective endocarditis develops when bacteria gets into the blood stream and attacks the heart's lining or valves. It can lead to stroke, a leaky heart valve, heart failure and abscesses around the heart valve.

Drug abuse is a primary risk factor for endocarditis, Harb said.

Each year in the United States, more than 30,000 people are treated for infective endocarditis. For one in five, it's fatal.

For the new study, Harb and his colleagues used the National Inpatient Sample registry from 2002 to 2016.

While increases in the infection were seen nationwide, the biggest increase was in the Midwest. There, the rate increased nearly 5% each year, Harb's team found.

The investigators also found that white men, median age 38, were most affected. Also, these drug-using patients were poorer: 42% had incomes in the bottom quarter of the population, and almost half relied on Medicaid for their health care.

The drug users with endocarditis stayed in the hospital longer and were more likely to need heart surgery. But because most were young, they were less likely to die, the researchers noted.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow is a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He said that infective endocarditis "is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that results in substantial morbidity and health care expenditures."

Concerns have been raised about the increase over the last decade brought on by the opioid epidemic, Fonarow added.

"The substantial rise in drug abuse associated with infective endocarditis further highlights the devastating effects the opioid epidemic has had in the United States, and why intensive efforts are needed to further address this serious public health issue," Fonarow said.

The report was published online Sept. 18 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

More information

For more on infective endocarditis, head to the American Heart Association.