by Dennis Thompson
Health Day Reporter
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) — America’s Opioid Epidemic Has Been Heartbreaking — Literally .
Deaths from devastating heart infections in the United States have doubled to tripled in the past two decades, a new study reports.
Researchers attribute the rise in fatal heart infections to a growing number of people between the ages of 15 and 44 who inject opioids.
versus 20 years ago,” said Dr. Polydoros Kampaktsis, senior researcher and assistant professor in the Department of Cardiology at Columbia University in New York City.
“It’s more noticeable in younger people,” he added.
Endocarditis occurs in your heart valves and chambers— Endocardium – Infected by bacteria that enter your bloodstream, usually bacteria.
Left untreated, the infection can “destroy the heart,” Mount Sinai, Queens, NYC Dr. Georgios Syros, director of the Arrhythmia Service, said.
“You can have a stroke. You may have a leaking valve. You might need open-heart surgery to replace those valves,” Syros said. “It’s devastating. “
Death rate from infective endocarditis among people aged 15 to 44 doubled between 1999 and 2020, from 0 per 100,000. 3 deaths increased to 0.6, according to the researchers’ analysis of federal mortality data.
To make matters worse, the findings show that 15- to 34-year-olds The endocarditis death rate tripled from 0.1 to 0.3 deaths per 100,000.
Even though the endocarditis death rate for the entire U.S. population This has happened, down from 2.1 per 100,000 in 1999 to 1.8 in 2020.
The researchers found that, overall, young people 10% of all endocarditis deaths in 2020, up from less than 7% in 1999.
Looking more closely at statistics, team concludes , opioid epidemic may be responsible for rising endocarditis deaths among young people Percentage of people with ris, ris from 1.1% in 1999 to 3% in 2020.
Among young people, injecting drug users accounted for 2020 deaths from endocarditis, according to report Nearly 20%, up from about 10% in 1999.
“This is a continuation of the desperate death stories we’ve seen. Unfortunately, these data and findings confirm what we’ve seen clinically for years,” said Dr. Wael Jaber, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
Human Syros and Kampaktsis say that layers of skin and immune defenses prevent bacteria from circulating freely in the blood, but drug addicts bypass all these protections.
“vein The injection can introduce the bacteria directly into the blood circulation,” explains Kampaktsis. “The bacteria may be present in the skin or in the needle. Once the needle is in the vein, it allows the bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart. “
Given that drug users often inject themselves on a regular basis, the risk is greater, Syros added.
” These guys break through barriers repeatedly,” Syros said. “They don’t get injected once in their lifetime. They’re injecting all the time, and they’re also sharing needles. This increases the risk of possible infective endocarditis from exposure. “
Treatment options are limited and often require high doses of intravenous antibiotics, experts say.
“Treatment of blood ‘Sterilization’ is often difficult and the risk of recurrent infection is high, especially with continued drug use,” Jaber said.
He noted that if an infection has damaged the heart valves, may require high-risk open-heart surgery to replace them with artificial valves.
“There really is no good way to ‘cure’ this complication of the heart, said Jaber.
Needle exchange program may be the only way to address this heart health risk immediately, Syros said.
“We should definitely try to give them clean syringes,” Syros said. “If you want to use, please use clean syringes. “
Substance abuse has spiked during the COVID pandemic, with Syros adding that fatal overdoses increased by nearly 30% in the first year of the crisis.
“This is something I’ve witnessed firsthand in the hospital,” Syros said. Drinking/not drinking borderline. Because of the pandemic, it was like a slap in the face, and then we saw the numbers go up very, very, very quickly. “
Until the U.S. adopts cultural and policy changes to effectively curb opioid use, Syros believes cases of endocarditis among young drug users will continue to climb.
“I think we’re going to see a surge in the next few years, following the increase in opioid use during COVID,” Syros said. “I believe that in the years after the pandemic, there will be There is a wave of infective endocarditis affecting young people. it will rise. “
The new study was published Nov. 9 in the Journal of Internal Medicine
The Cleveland Clinic has more about Information on Endocarditis.
Sources: Polydoros Kampaktsis, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Cardiology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York City; Georgios Syros, Director, Cardiac Arrhythmia Services, Queens, Mount Sinai, New York City; Wael Jaber, MD, Cardiologist, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio; , November 9, 2022