Cardiovascular Toxicology

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 62–71 | Cite as

Electrocardiographic Findings in Mortalities Due to Pure Methadone Toxicity

  • Mehdi Sheibani
  • Nasim Zamani
  • Hossein Hassanian-MoghaddamEmail author


We aimed to evaluate electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities in mortalities due to pure methadone toxicity in ICU patients since methadone-related mortality may be due to cardiac complications even in acute toxicities. In a retrospective single-center study, files of all patients who had died with confirmed diagnosis of pure methadone toxicity between 2011 and 2016 were evaluated. Autopsy was performed in all cases. A cardiologist measured all ECG quantitative and qualitative indices. Fifty-one deaths were recorded. Forty-two dead patients were males. Median [IQR] age of the patients was 44 [30, 60] years. Of them, 38 (69%) were methadone-dependent and were significantly older than methadone-naïve patients (p = 0.008 and p = 0.001, respectively). ECG abnormalities were detected in all cases. ST-T abnormalities were found in 33 (64.7%) patients. Except longer PR interval in dependent patients (p = 0.017) and specific ST elevation in naïve cases (p = 0.008), other ECG indices were similar in two groups. No correlation was found between ST-T abnormalities and coronary disease in autopsy. ECG abnormalities irrelevant to coronary artery diseases are common in methadone-related mortalities. Methadone toxicity may affect myocardium and play a role in death. Further prospective studies to evaluate other cardiac indices in methadone-poisoned patients are recommended.


Methadone Poisoning Coronary artery disease Electrocardiography 



This study was supported by Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical sciences, Tehran, Iran and approved by our local ethics committee (IR.SBMU.RETECH.REC.1397.31).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiovascular Research CenterShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIslamic Republic of Iran
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Toxicology, School of MedicineShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIslamic Republic of Iran
  3. 3.Department of Clinical ToxicologyLoghman-Hakim HospitalTehranIslamic Republic of Iran

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