New study links possible role of ephedrine in the sudden cardiac death of people with asymptomatic heart disease
Each year 80 to 100,000 Americans die suddenly from heart attacks without ever having had any symptoms of heart disease. In some cases, the victims of these unheralded sudden cardiac deaths had been taking dietary supplements containing ephedrine. In a new study in the Oct. 26, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers show how ephedrine can cause sudden cardiac death in an animal model of asymptomatic heart disease.
"For our experiment, we went to the local health food store, bought ephedrine supplements and gave our animals the dose recommended on the label," said Philip B. Adamson, M.D., associate professor in the department of physiology and the department of medicine - cardiovascular diseases at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, Okla. and lead author of the study. "Ephedrine mimics the sympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that makes the heart beat stronger and faster. In past experiments on obese, otherwise healthy individuals ephedrine did not raise their heart rates when they were either at rest or exercising." Dr. Adamson spoke today at the American Medical Associations 23rd Annual Science Reporters Conference in Washington D.C.
Christine M. Feheley | EurekAlert!
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