Smoking 'can cause heart failure by thickening the heart wall'

14 September 2016

A new study has indicated that smoking can increase a person's risk of heart disease by causing a thickening of their heart walls.

The research from Brigham and Women's Hospital examined data from 4,580 subjects via echocardiogram and found that current smokers had thicker heart walls and reduced pumping function compared to non-smokers or those who had kicked the habit.

Higher rates of cumulative cigarette exposure were associated with greater heart damage and a steady decline in the organ's function, increasing the risk of heart failure, even among those who do not experience a heart attack.

It is well-established that smoking leads to heart attacks and is associated with heart failure, even in people without cardiovascular disease. However, this is one of the first studies to demonstrate a clear mechanism by which tobacco increases the risk of heart failure.

Dr Scott Solomon, senior study author and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, said: "The good news is that former smokers had similar heart structure and function compared with never smokers. This suggests that the potential effects of tobacco on the myocardium might be reversible after smoking cessation."

Posted by Philip Briggs


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