A normal heart can be expected to beat for maybe 60 seconds after being removed – but one affected by heavy cocaine use still pulsates for up to 25 minutes.
The film shows an enlarged organ which has just been removed from a patient who abused the drug for more than 15 years. Doctors from Medspiration, who uploaded the video, said that the heart continued to beat for more than 25 minutes outside the body.
This is far longer than the 60 seconds it normally takes to lose oxygen and stop beating – and shows how much the drug has ravaged the organ.
Dr Klaus Witte, a consultant cardiologist at Leeds General Infirmary, explained this was because it was probably pumped full of medical stimulants to keep it beating – and the patient alive.
This heart, it’s not beating. Those are not normal contractions. It’s twitching in a desperate way.”
Cocaine causes changes to the structure of the arteries and the heart – and this, in turn, causes the heart to swell. Studies have shown cocaine users have higher blood pressure, stiffer arteries and thicker heart muscle walls than non-users – all of which can cause a heart attack.
Every tablet I use for treating cardiac conditions, cocaine does the opposite. Cocaine changes the body’s lipid [fat] profiles, makes the blood sticky, makes the heart work harder and faster, changes the body’s hormonal profile. It leads to heart attacks, strokes and heart failure,’ Dr Witte added.
Taking cocaine is like taking a dose of adrenaline. It will be exciting, it will make you feel like you’re on top of the world but the risks aren’t worth the benefits.” Dr Witte continued.
The American Heart Association warns that cocaine kills 15,000 people each year in the US due to overuse or related accidents and many more .
Check out the graphic video of the human heart on cocaine use, below.