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Accelerated Ventricular Rhythm and Cocaine Abuse

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This paper was supported in part by the E. Nichols and Kim Sigsworth Memorial Funds and The Institute for Cardiovascular Diseases, Inc.

Good Samaritan Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona

Ann Intern Med. 1978;88(4):519-520. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-88-4-519
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Cocaine has the peculiar quality of being both a local anesthetic and a sympathomimetic agent with powerful central nervous-system stimulant effects. In small doses cocaine can slow the heart rate, but larger amounts produce an increased heart rate and elevation of blood pressure. The latter effects are presumably mediated by the

influence of this drug on the central and peripheral sympathetic nervous system. Extremely high doses can have a direct toxic action on heart muscle, thereby resulting in cardiac arrest.

We describe here a patient with accelerated ventricular rhythm arising as a consequence of cocaine abuse. To our knowledge this


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