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Aims: This study aims to investigate ECG markers and possible arrhythmia risk in both patients with methamphetamine use disorder (MUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) and compared them with healthy controls. Cardiac complications due to methamphetamine and alcohol play an important role in mortality.
Materials and Methods: The study included 26 patients with methamphetamine use disorder, 27 patients with alcohol use disorder, and gender, and age-matched controls (27 controls for MUD, and 28 controls for AUD). ECG measurements were obtained using the ImageJ program which is a reliable program that can be used to measure images in medicine. ECG parameters included heart rate, PR, QRS, and QT intervals, P and QT dispersion, QTc, Tp-e, Tp-e/QTc, and iCEB, a new biomarker for predicting drug-induced cardiac arrhythmias.
Results: All of the participants were men. The mean age of patients with MUD was 28.46±7.1, and AUD was 40.41±10.9. In both groups, most of the patients did not describe cardiac symptoms in the past (73.1% for MUD, and 66.7 for AUD). Patients with MUD and AUD had a significantly higher mean heart rate than controls (p<0.005 and p<0.05, respectively). Sinus tachycardia was detected in 26.9% of patients with MUD, and 22.2% of AUD. In the MUD group, mean QTc values were longer than controls (p<0.001), and prolonged QTc interval was detected in 11.5% of patients. In the AUD group, the mean QT dispersion was shorter than controls (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Our data support the well-known previous data of methamphetamine and alcohol on the heart such as increased heart rate, tachycardia, QTc prolongation, and also the effectiveness of ECG in monitoring alcohol and methamphetamine-induced cardiac effects. Interestingly, it replicates previous data that alcohol may have antiarrhythmic effects through decreased mean QT dispersion.
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