E-cigarettes can cause arrhythmia, study finds

A study by scientists from the University of Louisville, USA, and published this Tuesday (25) in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that using e-cigarettes can trigger arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) and cardiac electrical dysfunctions.

They used animal models and found that exposure to chemicals in the devices caused premature heartbeats and skipped heartbeats.

“Our results demonstrate that short-term exposure to e-cigarettes can destabilize heart rhythm through specific chemicals in e-liquids,” said study coordinator Professor Alex Carll from the Department of Physiology. from the university in a press release.

The researcher points out that “the use of electronic cigarettes involving certain flavorings or solvent vehicles can interrupt the electrical conduction of the heart and cause arrhythmias”.

“These effects may increase the risk of atrial or ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest.”

The main ingredients of the liquids that make up the electronic cigarettes were used in the tests, such as nicotine-free propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, in addition to flavored liquids containing nicotine.

In the paper, the researchers describe that the animals’ heart rates slowed during shock exposures and accelerated as heart rate variability decreased, indicating fight-or-flight stress responses.

Another finding was that inhalations of menthol or propylene glycol flavored e-cigarettes caused ventricular arrhythmias and other electrical irregularities in the heart.

Professor Aruni Bhatnagar, of the University of Louisville’s Division of Environmental Medicine, points out that this is further evidence of the health hazard of e-cigarettes.

“This is very concerning given the rapid growth in e-cigarette use, especially among young people.”

In July this year, the Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) upheld the ban on the import and sale of electronic smoking devices.

However, these products continue to be marketed without any hindrance, especially on the internet.

A survey conducted by UFPel (Federal University of Pelotas) and the international organization Global Strategies shows that the prevalence of adult smokers fell from 14.7% in the pre-pandemic period to 12.2% in the first three month of 2022.

On the other hand, the study provides figures which illuminate an alert. Among young people aged 18 to 24, nearly 20% say they have tried electronic cigarettes between January and March of this year. In the general population, it was 7.3%.

Another study, published in June in the scientific journal Addiction, shows that, worldwide, one in 12 adolescents aged 13 to 15 had used an electronic cigarette in the 30 days preceding the questionnaire.

Besides the heart risk, e-cigarettes can also cause serious lung damage.

Evali (acronym for e-cigarette induced lung injury) is one of the complications and is associated with a strong inflammatory process in the lungs that can lead to death.

In one of the cases that occurred in Brazil and was reported to Anvisa, Evali’s symptoms were described as “feeling faint, very strong pain in the middle of the chest, I thought I was having a seizure cardiac”.

A document prepared by the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Inca, has identified 21 elements present in the smoke of vapers that can be harmful to health. Among them are: lead, sulfur, titanium, copper and lithium.

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