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Infective Endocarditis From Injection Drug Use Increasing

Increase especially high among young, white, and female patients

FRIDAY, Sept. 2, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The number of Americans hospitalized with infective endocarditis (IE) related to injecting opioids and heroin is on the rise, according to a study published in the Summer issue of Open Forum Infectious Diseases.

Alysse G. Wurcel, M.D., of the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, and colleagues reviewed U.S. hospital admissions for IE. In 2013, 12.1 percent of hospitalizations for IE were related to injection drug use (IDU), compared to 7.0 percent in 2000. The actual number of cases rose to 8,530 from 3,578.

The researchers found that the increase was especially high among young, white, and female patients. From 2000 to 2013, the proportion of hospitalizations from IDU rose from 27.1 to 42.0 percent among 15- to 34-year-old patients. Among white patients, the proportion of IDU-IE hospitalizations rose from 40.2 to 68.9 percent; and among white young adults, from 57.0 to 80.3 percent. Females accounted for 40.9 percent of IDU-IE hospitalizations in 2013, and 53.0 percent of young adult hospitalizations.

“As clinicians, we have observed a major increase in young people with opioid addiction cycling in and out of the health care system, and many end up with devastating complications of injection drug use like infective endocarditis,” Wurcel said in a Tufts news release. “Our study confirms that this trend is increasing across the U.S. and represents yet another indicator of the challenges we face with the national opioid epidemic.”

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