Background: Methamphetamine has the potential to produce more severe short and long term effects than typical amphetamines due to the drug’s increased purity. The cardiovascular consequences compromise a large proportion of the drug’s mortality. Previous reviews have not examined these complications in relation to psychiatric patients who have high rates of substance use and physical comorbidity.
Methods: Ovid Medline, Embase, Emcare, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and Cochrane were systematically searched in English until November 2017. Data were coded according to study design, sample size, demographics, medical and psychiatric comorbidity, electrocardiograph abnormalities, echocardiograph parameters, illness severity, treatment, and outcome on follow up.
Results: The 11 included studies were predominantly case series conducted in the USA. Males were more likely to use methamphetamine and be associated with global systolic dysfunction. The mean age was lower for those with methamphetamine-related cardiovascular complications. QTc interval prolongation was the most frequent electrocardiograph abnormality. Continued methamphetamine use was associated with persistently impaired ventricular function, whilst discontinuation led to remodeling and improved ejection fraction. Only one study referenced psychiatric comorbidity or dual diagnosis.
Conclusion: This review describes the range of variables related to methamphetamine associated arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies. Early detection of methamphetamine use and the subsequent cardiac complications is important, especially in a psychiatric cohort where physical illness is more commonly neglected. The monitoring of electrocardiographs in methamphetamine users is also crucial. Future research is needed to allow for appropriate recommendations in managing the harmful impacts of methamphetamine use in this population.
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