Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is caused by long-term alcohol abuse. It is a type of dilated cardiomyopathy. The
heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently, leading to heart
failure. Alcohol in excessive quantities has a directly toxic effect on heart
Symptoms are the result of heart failure and include fatigue,
shortness of breath, swelling, and cough. Muscular weakness may also be present
because of the effect of alcohol on muscles (alcoholic myopathy).
Treatment includes quitting drinking. Quitting drinking often results in improved heart function. Continued alcohol
consumption, on the other hand, will continue to make heart failure worse.
Treatment also often includes standard treatment for heart failure, such as
lifestyle changes and medicines.
Other Works Consulted
Mestroni L, et al. (2011). Dilated cardiomyopathies. In V Fuster et al., eds., Hurst's the Heart, 13th ed., vol. 1, pp. 821–836. New York: McGraw-Hill.
July 24, 2012
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
& George Philippides, MD - Cardiology
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