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Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1986 Sep;112(9):988-90.

Myocardial infarction with topical cocaine anesthesia for nasal surgery.


Cocaine, the active alkaloid in coca leaf, is widely used as local anesthetic for otolaryngologic procedures. Our patient suffered an acute nontransmural myocardial infarction following clinical use of cocaine as topical anesthesia for nasal surgery, the first such case to be documented, to our knowledge. Although evidence documenting its cardiovascular toxicity is listed in contemporary pharmacologic literature, clinical cardiac injury has been reported to date only with the recreational use of cocaine. Authentic documentation of drug composition when received through the intervention of illicit vendors is always difficult. The literature is reviewed, justifying the use of cocaine as the most popular topical anesthetic in otolaryngologic practice. However, we hope that awareness of this possible complication will create a resurgence of research interest in topical cocaine anesthesia.

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