The following article is a part of conference coverage from AHA Scientific Sessions 2020, held virtually from November 13 to 17, 2020. The team at the Clinical Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading experts in cardiology. Check back for more from the AHA 2020.


Cannabis users were found to have higher rates of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and recurrent AMI compared with nonusers, according to study results presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2020, held virtually from November 13 to 17, 2020.

This study was an analysis of 2007 to 2014 admissions data of patients with prior myocardial infarction (MI), percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) from the National Inpatient Sample.

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Patients with prior MI and revascularization who used vs did not use cannabis were found to be significantly younger (median age, 53 vs 72 years, respectively), and include a greater percentage of African American (34.3% vs 10.0%, respectively), and men (76.5% vs 61.5%, respectively; P <.001 for all).

Patients who used vs did not use cannabis had a lower prevalence of comorbid conditions, including hypertension (71.7% vs 74.8%, respectively), diabetes (23.6% vs 32.9%, respectively), and dyslipidemia (51.3% vs 57.8%, respectively; P <.001 for all).

Cannabis use rose from 0.2% in 2007 to 0.7% in 2014. Compared with non-cannabis users, those who used cannabis had higher rates of AMI (4.5% vs 7.2%, respectively), PCI (5.5% vs 6.2%, respectively), and CABG (1.5% vs 1.9%, respectively). Approximately 67% of cannabis users had a subsequent AMI compared with 41% of patients who did not use cannabis.

Cannabis users vs nonusers had lower rates of all-cause mortality (0.8% vs 2.5%, respectively ) and hospital charges ($21,556 vs $24,872, respectively).

Limitations of this study include the lack of data on the timing between cannabis use and onset of cardiac events as well as the lack of information as to whether cannabis use was recreational or medicinal.

“Spreading awareness regarding the potential risk [for] recurrent heart attacks in middle-aged, African American and male cannabis users and screening them at an earlier age for potential risk factors of future heart attacks should be encouraged among clinicians,” noted lead study investigator Rushik Bhuva, MD, of the Wright Center for Community Health in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Desai R, Singh S, Gandhi ZJ, et al. Prevalence, trends and impact of cannabis use on hospitalizations with prior myocardial infarction and revascularization. Presented at: AHA Scientific Sessions 2020; November 13-17, 2020. Presentation 380.

This article originally appeared on The Cardiology Advisor