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

DISRUPT BTK Study Shows Positive Results With Lithoplasty in Calcified Lesions Below the Knee
News | Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)| September 20, 2017
Shockwave Medical reported positive results from the DISRUPT BTK Study, which were presented at the annual...
Corindus Announces First Patient Enrolled in PRECISION GRX Registry
News | Robotic Systems| September 18, 2017
September 18, 2017 — Corindus Vascular Robotics Inc.
Two-Year ILLUMENATE Trial Data Demonstrate Efficacy of Stellarex Drug-Coated Balloon
News | Drug-Eluting Balloons| September 18, 2017
Philips announced the two-year results from the ILLUMENATE European randomized clinical trial (EU RCT) demonstrating...
Sentinel Cerebral Protection System Significantly Reduces Stroke and Mortality in TAVR
News | Embolic Protection Devices| September 18, 2017
September 18, 2017 – Claret Medical announced publication of a new study in the...
Fysicon Receives FDA Approval for QMAPP Hemodynamic Monitoring System
Technology | Hemodynamic Monitoring Systems| September 18, 2017
Fysicon announced that it has been granted 510(k) clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its...
NIAID Scientists Illuminate Mechanism of Increased Cardiovascular Risks With HIV
News | Cardiac Diagnostics| September 14, 2017
September 14, 2017 — Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have expanded the understanding of how chronic i
Marijuana Associated With Three-Fold Risk of Death From Hypertension
News | Hypertension| September 14, 2017
Marijuana use is associated with a three-fold risk of death from hypertension, according to research published recently...
Peter Schneider, M.D. presents late breaking clinical trial results at VIVA 17 in Las Vegas. Panelists (l to r) Krishna Rocha-Singh, M.D., Sean Lyden, M.D., John Kaufman, M.D., Donna Buckley, M.D.

Peter Schneider, M.D. presents late breaking clinical trial results at VIVA 17 in Las Vegas. Panelists (l to r) Krishna Rocha-Singh, M.D., Sean Lyden, M.D., John Kaufman, M.D., Donna Buckley, M.D.

Feature | Cath Lab| September 14, 2017
September 14, 2017 — Here are quick summaries for all the key late-breaking vascular and endovascular clinical trials
Medtronic Announces Japanese Regulatory Approval for In.Pact Admiral Drug-Coated Balloon
News | Drug-Eluting Balloons| September 13, 2017
Medtronic plc announced that the In.Pact Admiral Drug-Coated Balloon (DCB) received approval from the Japanese Ministry...
Overlay Init