Anaesthetic management of a parturient with myocardial infarction related to cocaine use

Spencer S. Liu*, Richard M. Forrester, Glenn S. Murphy, Kevin Chen, Raymond Glassenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Cocaine abuse is common among parturients with an incidence of 11.8 to 20%. Myocardial infarction is a rare and lethal event during pregnancy with an incidence of 1 in 10,000 pregnancies. We present the anaesthetic management of a parturient of 36 wk gestation who suffered a myocardial infarction nine hours before delivery which was temporally related to "crack" cocaine use. The patient's cardiovascular system became unstable following cocaine use, and she required mechanical ventilatory support and pharmocologic stabilization guided by invasive haemodynamic monitoring. This patient survived a non-Q wave myocardial infarction, but the prognosis of peripartum myocardial infarction remains poor with a mortality rate of 30-40% which is increased if the infarction occurs in the third trimester or postpartum period. The optimal mode and timing of delivery after myocardial infarction is unresolved. The association between cocaine use and myocardial infarction was first described in 1982, and cocaine remains unique among local anaesthestics in its ability to compromise the cardiovascular system through both sympathomimetic effects and vasoconstrictive effects on coronary arteries. Because of the prevalence of substance abuse, cocaine use should be considered in the differential diagnosis of sudden cardiovascular compromise in parturients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)858-861
Number of pages4
JournalCanadian Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • addiction: cocaine
  • anaesthesia: obstetrical
  • anaesthetics, local: cocaine
  • complications: myocardial infarction, hypertension
  • pregnancy: delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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