September 1987

Effects of Intrauterine Exposure to Alkaloidal Cocaine ('Crack')

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics State University of New York Health Science Center Box 49 450 Clarkson Ave Brooklyn, NY 11203

Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(9):937-938. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460090014001

Sir.—The dramatic increase in the use of alkaloidal cocaine ("crack") during Pregnancy has led to a growing concern about its effect on exposed [ill]etuses.1-3 Since crack vaporizes at relatively low temperatures, it can be smoked, with a large quantity of the drug absorbed by the pulmonary vasculature. This leads to a rapid onset of [ill]uphoria, which disappears in about 30 minutes. The repeated use of crack to [ill]egain the euphoric state leads to a [ill]igh level of fetal exposure. Cocaine [ill]as a profound effect on catecholamine metabolism and cardiovascular func[ill]ion,4 and the exposed fetus may be [ill]laced in jeopardy for both short- and [ill]ong-term adverse effects.

Patients and Methods.—This report rep[ill]esents a preliminary study in which we describe the clinical findings observed in 38 infants (21 male, 17 female) of crack-abus[ill]ng mothers who were admitted to our [ill]pecial-care nursery over a four-month pe[ill]iod. All the mothers denied

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