Methamphetamine-related HF hospitalization ‘insidious yet ra
Methamphetamine-associated cardiomyopathy/heart failure (MethHF) is an increasingly recognized disease entity in the context of a rising methamphetamine (meth) epidemic that most severely impacts the western United States. Using heart failure (HF) hospitalization data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, this study aimed to assess trend and disease burden of MethHF in California.

Adult patients (more than 18 years old) with HF as primary hospitalization diagnosis between 2008 and 2018 were included in this study. The association with Meth (MethHF) and those without (non-MethHF) were determined by meth-related International Classification of Diseases-based secondary diagnoses. Statistical significance of trends in age-adjusted rates of hospitalization per 100 000 adults were evaluated using nonparametric analysis.

-- Between 2008 and 2018, 1 033 076 HF hospitalizations were identified: 42 565 were MethHF (4.12%) and 990 511 (95.88%) were non-MethHF. Age-adjusted MethHF hospitalizations per 100 000 increased by 585% from 4.1 in 2008 to 28.1 in 2018, while non-MethHF hospitalizations decreased by 6.0% from 342.3 in 2008 to 321.6 in 2018.

-- The rate of MethHF hospitalization increase more than doubled that of a negative control group with urinary tract infection and meth-related secondary diagnoses (7.82-fold versus 3.48-fold).

-- Annual inflation–adjusted hospitalization charges because of MethHF increased by 840% from $41.5 million in 2008 to $390.2 million in 2018, as compared with an 82% increase for all HF hospitalization from $3.503 billion to $6.376 billion.

-- Patients with MethHF were significantly younger (49.64±10.06 versus 72.20±14.97 years old), predominantly male (79.1% versus 52.4%), with lower Charlson Comorbidity Index, yet they had longer length of stay, more hospitalizations per patient, and more procedures performed during their stays.

Conclusively, MethHF hospitalizations increased sharply during the study period and contributed significantly to the HF hospitalization burden in California. This emerging HF phenotype, which engenders considerable financial and societal costs, calls for an urgent and concerted public health response to contain its spread.