Anabolic Steroids May Weaken the Heart
Study Shows Long-Term Use May Have an Impact on Heart Pumping Function
Doctors Should Ask About Steroid Use
The study appears in the latest issue of the American Heart Association
journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
It was originally intended as a pilot study, but the findings were so
striking the researchers decided they needed to be published.
It is not clear if the impact of long-term steroid use on the heart is
reversible when the drugs are stopped, Baggish says.
"The hope is this will make physicians aware than an important cause of left
ventricular dysfunction in young people who are otherwise healthy may be
anabolic steroid use," he says. "Doctors need to ask their patients if they use
San Francisco cardiologist Ann F. Bolger, MD, says larger studies are needed
to confirm the findings.
But she agrees that anabolic steroid use needs to be on the radar of
clinicians who are evaluating their patients' heart disease risk.
Bolger is a professor of clinical medicine at the University of California,
San Francisco, and she is a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.
"This is a wake-up call to practitioners to ask about steroid use," she
says. "We would never dream of not asking if a patient smokes or if they have
high blood pressure or diabetes. But I'm guessing very few ask about steroid