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Methamphetamine Use Associated With Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in Patients With Previously Unknown Risk Factors
Date:3/20/2008

possible."

In a retrospective study entitled, "Is Methamphetamine Use Associated With Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension," published in the December 2006 issue of CHEST, Dr. Kelly Chin and colleagues at UCSD studied rates of stimulant use -- any reported use of amphetamine, methamphetamine, or cocaine -- in 340 patients with either IPAH, PAH resulting from a known risk factor, or chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. A history of stimulant use was found in 29 percent of patients with a diagnosis of idiopathic PAH, compared with 4 percent of patients with PAH and a known risk factor, and 4 percent of patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. After adjustment for differences in age and gender, patients with idiopathic PAH were eight to ten times more likely to have used stimulants than patients with these other forms of pulmonary hypertension.

About Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)

PAH is a rare blood vessel disorder of the lung in which the pressure in the pulmonary artery rises above normal levels and may become life threatening. PAH is diagnosed when other more common causes of pulmonary hypertension such as severe emphysema, interstitial lung disease, heart failure and chronic pulmonary thromboembolism have been ruled out. Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) refers to PAH that occurs without a known cause and is extremely rare. PAH can also occur in association with collagen vascular diseases such as scleroderma, CREST syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), congenital heart diseases, HIV infection and liver disease. Use of diet drugs like fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine can also lead to PAH, and an association between PAH and substance abuse, including methamphetamine, amphetamine, and cocaine use, has also been seen.

PAH is under-diagnosed because its early symptoms, including shortness of breath, chest pain, tiredness, lightheadedness, and fainting, are often misdiagno
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SOURCE Pulmonary Hypertension Association
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