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2012 to 2018 Saw Increase in Opioid-Linked Cardiac Arrest

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FRIDAY, Sept. 3, 2021 -- The incidence of opioid-associated cardiac arrest increased significantly from 2012 to 2018, according to a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2021: The Digital Experience, held virtually from Aug. 27 to 30.

Senada S. Malik, M.P.H., from the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, and colleagues examined and compared contemporary trends of cardiac arrest in patients with and without opioid abuse. Data were included for all hospitalizations for a primary diagnosis of cardiac arrest between 2012 and 2018 and were classified into those with or without a secondary diagnosis of opioid disease.

The researchers found that 3.1 percent of the 1,410,475 cardiac arrest hospitalizations that met inclusion criteria had cardiac arrest plus a secondary diagnosis of opioid use. In-hospital mortality was 56.7 and 61.2 percent for cardiac arrest patients with and without opioid use, respectively. Compared with cardiac arrest without opioid use, hospitalizations for cardiac arrest with opioid use were associated with a higher prevalence of alcohol use (16.9 versus 7.1 percent), depression (18.8 versus 9.0 percent), and smoking (37.0 versus 21.8 percent). Patients with heart failure, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and renal failure were less likely to have hospitalizations for cardiac arrest with opioid use. There has been a significant increasing trend in opioid-associated cardiac arrests during the last seven years.

"This was an observational study so we cannot conclude causality, but the findings do suggest that the opioid epidemic in the United States may have contributed to an increasing number of cardiac arrests," Malik said in a statement.

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Posted September 2021

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