Cardiac MRI provides significant value when treating cocaine-induced disease

Cardiac MRI can help providers differentiate between acute and chronic cocaine-induced cardiovascular diseases, according to a new analysis published in Radiology: Cardiothoracic Imaging.

This role, according to the study’s authors, helps cardiac MRI stand out among all other treatment options.

“This is a unique feature of cardiac MRI which sets it apart from other imaging modalities and places it in a pivotal role in the management of substance abuse patients and, generally speaking, of structural heart diseases,” senior author Marco Francone, MD, PhD, Sapienza University in Rome, said in a prepared statement.

The authors examined the existing literature on cardiac MRI’s impact on treating cocaine abuse. The modality, they explained, provides a helpful snapshot of a patient’s cardiovascular health. Common side effects of cocaine abuse included heart attacks, acute myocarditis and cardiomyopathy, and cardiac MRI helps specialists determine if the patient is suffering from an acute condition—or something much worse.

“Cardiac MRI's ability to distinguish between the different cardiac manifestations of cocaine abuse is important because they all have different patterns,” Francone said in the same statement. “Even though all these pathologies have cocaine abuse as primary cause, the myocardial damage and, therefore, clinical course are completely different, ranging from complete recovery to heart failure.”