Methamphetamine use and heart failure: Prevalence, risk factors, and predictors

John R Richards, Brian N. Harms, Amanda Kelly, Samuel D Turnipseed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objectives: To compare methamphetamine users who develop heart failure to those who do not and determine predictors. Methods: Patients presenting over a two-year period testing positive for methamphetamine on their toxicology screen were included. Demographics, vital signs, echocardiography and labs were compared between patients with normal versus abnormal B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP). Results: 4407 were positive for methamphetamine, 714 were screened for heart failure, and 450 (63%) had abnormal BNP. The prevalence of abnormal BNP in methamphetamine-positive patients was 10.2% versus 6.7% for those who were negative or not tested. For methamphetamine-positive patients, there was a tendency for higher age and male gender with abnormal BNP. A higher proportion of Whites and former smokers had abnormal BNP and higher heart and respiratory rates. Echocardiography revealed disparate proportions for normal left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and severe dysfunction (LVEF <. 30%), LV diastolic function, biventricular dimensions, and pulmonary arterial pressures between subgroups. For methamphetamine-positive patients with abnormal BNP, creatinine was significantly higher, but not Troponin I. Logistic regression analysis revealed predictors of abnormal BNP and LVEF <. 30% in methamphetamine-positive patients, which included age, race, smoking history, elevated creatinine, and respiratory rate. Conclusion: Methamphetamine-positive patients have a significantly higher prevalence of heart failure than the general emergency department population who are methamphetamine-negative or not tested. The methamphetamine-positive subgroup who develop heart failure tend to be male, older, White, former smokers, and have higher creatinine, heart and respiratory rates. This subgroup also has greater biventricular dysfunction, dimensions, and higher pulmonary arterial pressures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Amphetamine
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • CHF
  • Echocardiography
  • Heart failure
  • Methamphetamine
  • Toxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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