Past Cannabis Use Associated With Decreased In-Hospital Mortality Among Heart Attack Patients

AURORA, CO — Heart attack patients with a past history of self-reported marijuana use possess greater in-hospital survival rates, according to data published in the journal PLOS One.

Investigators from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Division of Cardiology compared the hospital records of over 3,800 heart-attack patients who acknowledged having consumed cannabis or had tested positive for it to those of over 1.2 million similarly matched controls.

Consistent with prior data, “[M]arijuana use prior to AMI (acute myocardial infarctions) was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality post AMI.” In addition, “Average length of stay for marijuana users was shorter than non-marijuana users (4.51 days vs. 6.25 days, respectively).”

Cannabis-using subjects, on average, were 10 years younger than non-users. However, authors reported that “age-specific analysis and controlling for other potential confounders did not explain these findings.” Patients with past cannabis exposure also were less likely to suffer from hypertension, heart failure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation.

Researchers concluded: “In this large, multiregional analysis, marijuana use reported during hospitalization for AMI was associated with a significantly decreased risk of in-hospital mortality. … Given the increasing prevalence and acceptance of marijuana use, these findings suggest that additional study is warranted to further investigate these discoveries and to identify potential mechanisms by which marijuana is associated with improved short-term outcomes following AMI and for mitigating the possible negative effects of concomitant substance use.”

The findings are consistent with prior studies reporting that a history of past cannabis use is associated with reduced in-hospital mortality among patients admitted for traumatic brain injuriesburn victims, those undergoing certain orthopedic surgeries, and those hospitalized with other forms of severe trauma.

Full text of the study, “Marijuana use and short-term outcomes in patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction,” appears in PLOS One.

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