Study: Vaping Increases Risk of Heart Failure

More than 64 million people around the world suffer from heart failure, a condition in which the heart muscle can’t pump blood efficiently throughout the body.

Now, a new study reveals that people who used e-cigarettes had a 19% higher risk of developing heart failure than those who never vaped.

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While previous studies have linked vaping and cardiovascular disease, this study focused on its effect on heart failure.

Probable causes of damage to the heart muscle include infection, illegal drug use, heart attack or a congenital heart defect. Diabetes and coronary heart disease can also affect the heart muscle, as well as smoking, according to Medical News Today.

Dr. Yakubu Bene-Alhasan, lead author of the study presented at the American College of Cardiology annual scientific session, explains that the new results make sense as previous research found that vaping increased the risk of cardiovascular disease, while animal studies showed that e-cigarettes caused changes in the heart leading to reduce contractibility and relaxation after exposure.

The researchers who analyzed data of over 175,000 U.S. adults from the All of Us study run by the National Institutes of Health found that e-cigarettes significantly affected a certain type of heart failure called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. A similar association was not found in people with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.

According to the American Heart Association, preserved ejection fraction occurs when the left ventricle loses its ability to relax normally because the muscle becomes stiff and can’t properly fill with blood. Heart failure from reduced ejection happens when the left ventricle loses its ability to contract normally, and the heart can’t pump enough blood into circulation.

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Bene-Alhasan said heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is not well understood and medicines used to treat this type of heart failure have fewer mortality benefits. Therefore, it is important to recognize the strategies to prevent it.

“Knowing that e-cigarettes could potentially lead to this type of heart failure is important in drawing up preventative interventions,” he said.

Other experts note that while vaping may be considered healthier than smoking cigarettes, it is not considered safe.

“’Safer’ is not the same as ‘safe,’’ explained Dr. Cheng-Han Chen, medical director of the Structural Heart Program at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California. “We know in other studies that nicotine itself has deleterious effects on the heart. Specifically, in e-cigarettes it’s the nicotine that affects how the heart functions efficiently and causes worsening cardiovascular outcomes.”

Chen, who was not involved in the latest study, said the findings should lead to a public outreach campaign and public service announcements that warn about the dangers of e-cigarettes. Bene-Alhasan added that doctors should make their patients aware that vaping increases the risk of heart failure, among other health hazards.

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