Cardiovascular Toxicology

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 13–24 | Cite as

Exposure to Amphetamines Leads to Development of Amphetamine Type Stimulants Associated Cardiomyopathy (ATSAC)

  • Mahsa Jafari Giv


With rapidly rising prevalence of exposure to Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS), novel insights into cardiotoxic effects of this substance are being presented in the literature and remarkably ATS Associated Cardiomyopathy (ATSAC) is emerging as a novel cardiovascular condition with its distinctive pathogenesis, risk factors, clinical features and prognosis. A comprehensive systematic review was performed to explore and analyze the current evidence on the association between ATS exposure and development of cardiomyopathy, biological mechanisms involved in pathogenesis of ATSAC, risk factors, clinical features and course of patients with ATSAC. Several animal studies, case reports, case series and case-control studies support the association between ATS exposure and ATSAC. Oxidative stress, accelerated apoptosis, increased p53 activity, cardiomyocyte necrosis, perfusion defects, fatty acid toxicity, altered gene expression, abnormal cardiac protein synthesis and function in addition to defects in intracellular calcium hemostasis present themselves as likely mechanisms of cardiotoxicity in ATSAC. Majority of patients with ATSAC were found to be male, young and presented late with severe dilated cardiomyopathy. Female ATS users predominantly develop Takotsubo type of ATSAC and in particular its atypical basal variant. Overall, cessation of ATS exposure seems to be associated with some degree of reversibility and recovery in ATSAC sufferers.


Amphetamine-related disorders Cardiovascular toxicity Cardiomyopathy Cardiotoxicity Methamphetamine Takotsubo cardiomyopathy 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CardiologySt Vincent’s Hospital (Melbourne)FitzroyAustralia

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