Hemodynamic effects of intranasal cocaine in humans

James D. Boehrer, David J. Moliterno, John E. Willard, Richard W. Snyder, Rodney P. Horton, D. Brent Glamann, Richard A. Lange, L. David Hillis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Intranasal cocaine, 2 to 3 mg/kg body weight, is a commonly used local anesthetic for rhinolaryngologic procedures, and many persons who abuse it ingest a similar amount. Previous studies in humans showed that this dose of cocaine causes coronary vasoconstriction, and studies in animals showed that larger amounts given intravenously diminish myocardial performance. This study assessed the hemodynamic effects of intranasal cocaine, 2 mg/kg, in humans. In 15 patients (8 men and 7 women, aged 30 to 70 years) referred for cardiac catheterization, heart rate, systemic arterial pressure, cardiac index, pulmonary capillary wedge and pulmonary artery pressures and left ventricular pressure and its first derivative ( dP dt) were measured before and 15, 30 and 45 min after intranasal administration of saline solution (n = 5) or cocaine, 2 mg/kg (n = 10). No variable changed with saline solution. In those given cocaine, there was an increase in heart rate (17 ± 16%, mean ± SD), mean systemic arterial pressure (8 ± 7%), cardiac index (18 ± 18%) and positive and negative dP dt (18 ± 20% and 15 ± 22%, respectively) (p < 0.05 for all). Thus, intranasal cocaine in a dose similar to that used medicinally or "recreationally" does not exert a deleterious influence on intracardiac pressures and left ventricular performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-93
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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