Nicotine and ventricular fibrillation

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

In a two-page Philip Morris (PM) memo from 1980, principal scientist Raymond Fagan writes to PM's Director of Research Thomas Stefan Osdene to discuss a study being done at an outside agency, the American Health Foundation (AHF).

AHF reported that nicotine was suspect in causing heart attacks ("myocardial infarction"). In response, Fagan states,

I doubt whether this is true. If nicotine is involved in cardiovascular disease it may be responsible for the lowered threshold to ventricular fibrillation. This type of arrhythmia is frequently the cause of sudden death in cardiovascular disease.

Thus in 1980 PM had an idea that nicotine might lower people's threshold for a type of inefficient heart pumping pattern (arrhythmia) that "frequently [is] the cause of sudden death" in people with heart disease.

Title Progress Report of the Epidemiology Division of the American Health Foundation
Author Raymond Fagan
Date 19800326 (March 26, 1980)
Type Memo
Bates 1000129639/9640

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