Mortality Rates From Rare Heart Condition Spike Amid US Opioid Crisis

Death rates from a heart inflammation condition spiked among young American adults over a two-decade period between 1999 and 2020, according to a new study that blamed this increase on the opioid crisis.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association on Dec. 13, examined mortality trends in the United States owing to infective endocarditis (IE)—an inflammation of the lining of the heart valves or chambers that can be fatal. The disease is triggered when germs, typically bacteria, from other parts of the body enter the bloodstream and attack the lining of the valves or chambers.

After analyzing mortality data sourced from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 1999 and 2020, researchers discovered there was a “marked acceleration in mortality” among the 25- to 44‐year-old age group, which it characterized as “a cause for alarm.”

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