Cardiology in the Young

Original Article

Electrocardiographic and echocardiographic findings in street children known to be substance abusers

Seref Olgara1 c1, Aygun Dindara1, Turkan Ertugrula1, Rukiye Eker Omeroglua1 and Umrah Aydogana1

a1 Department of Pediatric Cardiology, Istanbul University – Faculty of Medicine, Capa, Istanbul, Turkey


Substance abuse is prevalent in adolescent street children, and death is reported as secondary to aspiration, accidental trauma, asphyxia, cardiac arrhythmia, anoxia, vagal inhibition and respiratory depression. In this study, we examined electrocardiographic and echocardiographic findings from 53 street male adolescents, comparing our findings to those obtained from 61 controls in the same age group. The street children smoked cigarettes (98.1%) and had used, or were using, thinner (73.6%), glue (75.5%), hashish (79.2%), morphine or its products (24.5%), ecstasy (37.7%), anti-emetics (13.2%) and alcohol (60.4%). On examination, their blood pressures were lower than the control group. Electrocardiographically, PR, QRS, QT were found to be longer (p less than 0.05) than the values for healthy controls. Although it was not statistically significant, QTc duration was also longer than the control group. Echocardiography revealed increased diameters of the left ventricle and atrium, the aorta, and the coronary arteries as compared to the healthy children (p less than 0.05).

(Accepted August 24 2007)


c1 Correspondence to: Seref Olgar, MD, Istanbul University, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pediatric Cardiology, 34390 Capa, Istanbul, TURKEY. Tel & Fax: +90 246 227 46 64; E-mail: or