Taylor Hawkins’ heart was twice its size; what causes this? – 03/28/2022

The heart of Taylor Hawkins, drummer for the Foo Fighters found dead last Friday (25), weighed twice as much as normal for an adult – something that must be between 300 and 350 grams – according to the Colombian newspaper Semana. The newspaper said the organ’s weight was close to 600 g.

Hawkins, 50, was in Bogotá to perform at a festival and complained of chest pain before he died, local police said.

Dilated heart conditions are usually related to factors such as Chagas disease, after infections (such as covid-19, although it is a rare complication), chronic drug and alcohol use or in some postpartum conditions.

“It’s a little underestimated, but people who abuse alcohol, drugs or have poorly controlled diabetes, for example, develop an inflammatory process in the muscle itself and the heart grows”, explains cardiologist Edmo Atique Gabriel, columnist for the Live well.

Inflammation causes muscle fibers to stretch, which impacts the ability to contract and decreases the strength of the organ, leading to heart failure.

Among the symptoms, the person may have an increase in heart rate, malaise, weakness, in addition to being more susceptible to having arrhythmias, heart attacks, progression of insufficiency, other heart problems and, depending on the stimuli and habits, suffering from acute heart failure. .

Can antidepressant use have an impact?

Exams have not yet confirmed the official cause of Hawkins’ death, but the Fiscalía General de la Nación (a body similar to the Attorney General’s Office) reported that 10 types of substances were found, such as THC (present in marijuana), tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines and opioids in the musician’s preliminary urine toxicology test.

According to Atique Gabriel, the use of antidepressants along with the other medicines disclosed could already cause complications to the drummer’s heart health, but marijuana can increase the risks even more. “All substances, except marijuana, are possible drugs with a controlled dose for the nervous system. The mistake is not in using it in a controlled and prescribed way, but in mixing everything, in addition to adding it to marijuana, which is a blunder”, says the cardiologist.

Treatment: giving up bad habits and transplantation

In general, the treatment of an enlarged heart combines the use of medication to relieve symptoms and, in cases of drug or other substance use, it is necessary to abandon habits – including alcohol intake, which potentiates impacts on the myocardium.

“There is drug treatment to improve cardiac performance, but not to return to normal. The use of drugs, for example, already impacts cognition over time, causes difficulty concentrating, but when it affects the heart it is more measurable. double, triple the size and sometimes a transplant is indicated”, indicates cardiologist Rica Buchler, director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Instituto Dante Pazzanese (SP).

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