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Clinical Observation
July 10, 2000

Cocaine and Buerger Disease: Is There a Pathogenetic Association?

Author Affiliations

From the Vascular Medicine Program, Orthopaedic Hospital, Hematology/Oncology Division, Department of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

Arch Intern Med. 2000;160(13):2057-2060. doi:10.1001/archinte.160.13.2057

A patient with a diagnosis of Buerger disease is described with peripheral limb ischemia and toe amputations, 2 recent small myocardial infarctions, and a long history of cigarette use. Peripheral angiography findings were incompatible with the clinical impression, and further workup revealed heavy recreational use of cocaine. A literature review of the clinical and pathologic manifestations of Buerger disease and of cocaine exposure shows them to have remarkable similarities. Based on our case observation and suggestive evidence from the literature, we propose that cocaine exposure may masquerade as Buerger disease, and further, that unrecognized cocaine exposure may underlie such cases, even including those originally described by Buerger in 1908.

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