An Australian study has showed that recreational cocaine users may develop stiffer arteries, thicker heart muscles and higher blood pressure, leading to higher risk of heart attack.

The volunteers who had taken cocaine at least once per month for the previous year showed arteries thickened by up to 35 per cent and an 18 per cent greater thickness in a main chamber of the heart just 48 hours after taking the drug. 

The combined effects of greater blood clotting, increased heart stress and more blood vessel constriction put users at high risk of a spontaneous heart attack.

Dr Gemma Figtree, of the University of Sydney’s medical school, said: "We are repeatedly seeing young, otherwise fit individuals suffering massive heart attacks related to cocaine use." 

The team noticed a surge of cocaine-related heart attacks at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital which lead to the team to develop the study. Previous studies have shown the effects of cocaine on the heart among regular users and addicts but not those who take it socially.

Heart screening clinic 

Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Specialist Care offers expert private heart screening at a time and location to suit you. A heart screening assessment will check the health of your heart and detect the early signs of any heart problems.

Heart screening is offered by our specialist cardiologists and nurses at our three locations: Royal Brompton Hospital, Harefield Hospital, and our dedicated outpatients and diagnostics facility at 77 Wimpole Street.