BMJ Case Reports 2011; doi:10.1136/bcr.05.2011.4280
  • Myth exploded

Anabolic androgenic steroid induced myocardial toxicity: an evolving problem in an ageing population

  1. Aaron L Baggish1
  1. 1Cardiology Division, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  2. 2Department of Biological Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts, United States
  1. Correspondence to Dr Aaron L Baggish, abaggish{at}


Widespread use of anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) abuse is a rapidly increasing public health concern with an expanding demographic. Previous studies and reports have been exclusive to young individuals at low risk for traditional, non-AAS associated, cardiovascular disease. To date, the impact of AAS use on older patients has not been well characterised. The patient herein presented documents a dramatic case of an older individual who developed decompensated heart failure secondary to illicit use of AAS, highlighting an evolving problem among a rapidly expanding demographic and illustrating that a) AAS, used to alter appearance or augment performance, is no longer an issue confined to young adults; b) older individuals with ageing myocardium may be particularly susceptible to AAS toxicity and may present with fulminate congestive heart failure; and that c) AAS abstinence coupled with traditional heart failure pharmacotherapy may be an effective treatment for this condition.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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