Background: Some of the causes of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) which have continued to increase in prevalence worldwide are unknown. It is known that petroleum products are abused widely in Nigeria. Objectives: We sort to find out if exposure of rats to petroleum products in the same manner that people inhale these products could cause significant cardiac toxicity. Methods: Our study involved exposing wistar rats to fumes of petroleum products. Group 1 was the control, groups 2 and 3 were exposed to varying duration of inhaled kerosene and groups 4 and 5 were exposed to varying duration of petrol. Blood samples were collected by orbital puncture and complete necropsy of the heart was performed and gross lesions recorded in all the animals. Results: The result showed increased serum levels of cardiac enzymes which included not only creatinine phosphokinase but also troponin I in rats exposed to petroleum products. There was also histological evidence of cardiac injury on microscopy. These results show evidence of petroleum products- induced cardiotoxicity in animals. Conclusions: If the implications of these animal research findings are extrapolated to Nigerians who are exposed to petroleum products on a continual basis, it may explain some of the yet unknown causes of cardiovascular diseases in Nigeria.
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