Smoking causes the heart wall to thicken, which contributes to heart failure. When the walls of the heart become thick, the heart’s ability to properly pump out blood reduces. Over time, this leads to heart damage and, essentially, heart failure.
The researchers looked at the hearts of 4,580 Americans who did not have any obvious signs of heart damage at the time.
Current smokers were found to have thicker heart walls and reduced heart pumping abilities, compared to nonsmokers.
Study author Dr. Wilson Nadruz Jr. said, “These data suggest that smoking can independently lead to thickening of the heart and worsening of heart function, which may lead to a higher risk for heart failure, even in people who don’t have heart attacks.”
Senior author Dr. Scott Solomon concluded, “The good news is that former smokers had similar heart structure and function, compared with never-smokers. This suggests that the potential effects of tobacco on the [heart wall] might be reversible after smoking cessation.”