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Chewing Khat Raises Heart Disease, Death Risk: Study
Date:12/13/2011

] available in distant places," Suwaidi said. "And hence it is important to be aware of these practices," he noted, adding that prior research suggests that the elevated risk attributed to khat use among heart patients is very likely to also apply to otherwise healthy patients.

Dr. Kirk Garratt, clinical director of interventional cardiovascular research at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, commented on the study.

"We know very well that when you have cardiovascular disease any exposure to any meaningful stimulant would be expected to increase heart risk, by changing the vascular dynamic of the blood vessels that control the blood flow through the brain and heart," he said. "We also know that these drugs can facilitate or trigger irregular heart rhythms, which can be very problematic.

"Cocaine, for example, can have a negative impact on people both with and without heart disease," Garratt added. "And those with heart disease face an especially elevated risk. So these findings are not really surprising."

More information

Visit the U.S. National Institute of Drug abuse for more on khat.

SOURCES: Jassim Al Suwaidi, M.D., consultant cardiologist and director, cardiovascular research, department of cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, Hamad General Hospital, Doha, Qatar; Kirk Garratt, M.D., clinical director, interventional cardiovascular research, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Dec. 12, 2011, Circulation


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