UH medical study links crystal meth use to serious heart problems

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Gregg Takayama, (808) 382-3212
John A. Burns School of Medicine
Posted: Feb 20, 2007

HONOLULU - University of Hawaii medical researchers have linked, for the first time, usage of crystal methamphetamine ("ice") to severe heart problems.

The study found that out of 143 Honolulu men under the age of 45 who were hospitalized with serious heart problems, 40 percent of them were users of "ice." The study occurred between 2001 and mid-2004.

"This represents the first scientific documentation of the profound cardiac effects of ʻice‘ on young people," says Irwin Schatz, MD, of the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).

"‘Ice‘ should now take its place, along with alcohol, as a major cause of heart disease in our community," said Dr. Schatz, a cardiologist in the JABSOM‘s Department of Medicine.

Lead author of the study is Khung-Keong Yeo of the University of California, Davis Medical Center; other JABSOM co-authors, in addition to Dr. Schatz, are Hiroki Ito, MD; Kevin Tay, MD; Todd Seto, MD; Jimmy Efird, PhD, Kavitha Alimineti, and Chieko Kimata; another study co-author is Mevan Wijetunga, MD, of Washington, D.C.

The findings are published in the current issue of the highly respected AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. To receive a copy of the article, email greggt@hawaii.edu.