Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Others have suggested that an acute decrease in mitochondrial glutathione content may play a role in mitochondrial damage and implicate oxidative stress as a contributor in this process. Unfortunately Lazarević et al[23], as in most of these studies, systematically excluded patients with a history of heart disease or with HF symptoms. It is therefore possible that most of these studies may have also consistently omitted most alcoholic cardiomyopathy alcohol abusers in whom alcohol had already caused significant ventricular dysfunction. A second set of studies that are quoted when addressing this topic are those conducted in individuals who started an alcohol withdrawal program[21-24]. In these studies, the authors estimated the amount and chronicity of alcohol intake and subsequently related the figures to a number of echocardiographic measurements and parameters.

  • This was interpreted by the authors as suggesting that acetaldehyde plays a key role in the cardiac dysfunction seen after alcohol intake.
  • It’s very important to stick with the treatment plan and to stop drinking alcohol during recovery.
  • Cardiomyopathy impacts all genders and people of all ages, including children.
  • Pharmacologic therapy should include goal-directed heart failure therapy as used in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy with reduced ejection fraction.
  • These changes, though subtle, were similar to those found by Ferrans and Hibbs in eight deceased individuals diagnosed with ACM[42,43].

In this review, we evaluate the available evidence linking alcohol consumption with HF and DCM. We also discuss the clinical presentation, prognosis and treatment of ACM. Studies of alcohol and stroke are complicated by the various contributing factors to stroke. Heavier drinkers are apparently at a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke, whereas moderate drinking might be neutral or even result in a reduced risk of ischemic stroke. Alcohol abuse coinciding with myocarditis was reported in 1902 by McKenzie [26].

Diagnosing Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy

As a net effect, negative inotropism may result and contribute to heart failure. The beneficial heart wine as universal remedy in medieval ages by Hildegard von Bingen [11] found its later correlates in many observations at the beginning of modern medicine when coronary artery disease (CAD) and its risk factors and symptoms received more attention. Heberden [89] described angina so elegantly in 1786 and also added that ”considerable relief“ through ”wine and spirituous liquors“ could be expected. This observation led to the erroneous belief that alcohol is an immediate coronary vasodilator. Symptomatic relief of angina could be through the anesthetic effect of ethanol or through peripheral vasodilation, which could transiently reduce oxygen demand of the heart.

symptoms of alcoholic cardiomyopathy

But healthcare providers can offer many treatments to improve your quality of life and help you live longer. Going to regular appointments with your provider will help them monitor your condition and see how well treatments are working for you. The length of time that you have cardiomyopathy depends on the type you have. Depending on the cause, specific case, your cardiomyopathy and any other underlying medical conditions, certain medications can improve your blood flow and manage your symptoms. Some people have no symptoms of cardiomyopathy and don’t need treatment.

Alcoholism—use and abuse

The authors highlighted the presence of an extensive intracellular accumulation of neutral lipids, principally in the form of small cytoplasmic droplets. In a subsequent study using electron microscopy, the authors found histological features that could be superimposed onto those found in hearts that had suffered hypoxia, anoxia or ischemia[43]. Analogous to the sarcoplasmic reticulum, the mitochondria were swollen or oedema was present, with crest alterations and intra-mitochondrial inclusions suggesting degenerative processes (Figure ​(Figure2).2). Moreover, myofibrils showed a progressively distorted structure, resulting in a homogeneous mass.