News | Cardiac Diagnostics | July 01, 2016

Anabolic Steroid Abuse May Increase Arrhythmia, Stroke Risk

Study shows that people with the inherited heart condition ARVC could be at particular risk

anabolic steroid abuse, ARVC, arrhythmia, stroke, British Cardiovascular Society conference

July 1, 2016 — Research has already shown that taking anabolic steroids is associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of developing heart conditions such as left ventricular hypertrophy.

Now research, part-funded by the British Heart Foundation and presented at this year’s British Cardiovascular Society conference, June 6-8 in Manchester, England, has shown that for some people misusing steroids can be particularly dangerous.

A team of researchers from the University of Birmingham (U.K.) have found evidence to suggest that, when taken by people with the inherited heart condition arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), steroids could lead to changes in heart muscle structure and problems with the heart’s electrical signals. These changes would then increase the likelihood that people taking steroids would suffer from atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm disorder which is itself a major cause of stroke.

ARVC is caused by a mutation in one or more genes responsible for producing the proteins that hold the heart muscle together. The researchers gave dihydrotestosterone, an anabolic steroid commonly used to enhance athletic performance, to mice with a deficiency in one of these same proteins.

They found that, in these hearts, the electrical signal that tells the heart when to beat travelled around the heart more slowly than usual. This slowing down of electrical activity put these hearts at greater risk of dangerous abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people in the United Kingdom have used anabolic steroids for non-medical purposes in their lifetime. Anabolic steroids are prescription-only medicines that are sometimes taken without medical advice to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance. If used in this way, they can cause serious side effects and addiction.

Larissa Fabritz, senior author and reader in cardiovascular sciences at the University of Birmingham, said, “With one in every five men joining a gym in the U.K. using performance-enhancing anabolic steroids the misuse of steroids is fast becoming an emerging global health problem. Our results show that the misuse of steroids could explain why seemingly healthy individuals are suffering from serious heart problems.”

Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said, “This study reinforces the evidence that using anabolic steroids can have untoward and possibly dangerous side effects, particularly in those who, often unknowingly, have heart problems.”

For more information: www.bcs.com/conference

Related Content

Male Triathletes May Be Putting Their Heart Health at Risk
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | January 09, 2018
Competitive male triathletes face a higher risk of a potentially harmful heart condition called myocardial fibrosis,...
ERT Acquires iCardiac Technologies
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | December 19, 2017
ERT recently announced it has acquired iCardiac Technologies, a provider of centralized cardiac safety and respiratory...
New Study Suggests Protein Could Protect Against Coronary Artery Disease

Patients with no obstructed blood flow in the coronary arteries had higher levels of CXCL5 (blue) compared to patients with moderate levels (green) or lower levels (yellow) of CXCL5, who had increased severity of coronary obstructions (indicated by the arrows). Credit: Schisler lab

News | Cardiac Diagnostics | December 07, 2017
December 7, 2017 — The buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries is an unfortunate part of aging.
E-cigarettes Most Likely to be Used by Alcohol Drinkers and Former Cigarette Smokers, at American Heart Association (AHA), #AHA2017.
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | December 06, 2017
December 6, 2017 — Electronic cigarettes are more frequently used by people who recently quit smoking and alcohol dri
Lack of sleep may cause heart disease in older women. American heart Association, #AHA2017
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | December 06, 2017
December 6, 2017 — Older women who do not get enough sleep were more likely to have poor cardiovascular health, accor
New Tool Predicts Risk of Heart Attack in Older Surgery Patients
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | December 05, 2017
A tool designed to more accurately predict the risk of heart attack in older patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery...
EPIC Norfolk prospective population study showed any physical activity is better than none in older adults in preventing cardiovascular disease.

The EPIC Norfolk prospective population study showed any physical activity is better than none in older adults in preventing cardiovascular disease.

News | Cardiac Diagnostics | November 24, 2017
November 24, 2017 — Any physical activity in the elderly is better than none at all for reducing cardiovascular risk,
Analytics 4 Life Presents Clinical Data on Machine-Learned Cardiac Imaging Technology at TCT 2017
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | November 01, 2017
Analytics 4 Life announced it will be presenting new clinical data on the company's ongoing Coronary Artery Disease...
American Heart Association, Verily and AstraZeneca Launch One Brave Idea Science Innovation Center
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | October 20, 2017
The American Heart Association, Verily and AstraZeneca announced the opening of the One Brave Idea Science Innovation...
Overlay Init