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Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a disease in which the chronic long-term heavy use of
alcohol In chemistry, alcohol is an organic compound that carries at least one hydroxyl functional group (−OH) bound to a Saturated and unsaturated compounds, saturated carbon atom. The term alcohol originally referred to the primary alcohol ethan ...
(i.e.,
ethanol Ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, drinking alcohol, or simply alcohol) is an organic Organic may refer to: * Organic, of or relating to an organism, a living entity * Organic, of or relating to an anatomical organ (anatomy), ...

ethanol
) leads to
heart failure Heart failure (HF), also known as congestive heart failure (CHF) and (congestive) cardiac failure (CCF), is a set of manifestations caused by the failure of the heart The heart is a cardiac muscle, muscular Organ (biology), organ in mo ...
. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a type of
dilated cardiomyopathy Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a condition in which the Cardiomegaly, heart becomes enlarged and cannot pump blood effectively. Symptoms vary from none to feeling tired, pedal edema, leg swelling, and shortness of breath. It may also result in che ...
typically found in people with
alcohol use disorder Alcoholism is, broadly, any drinking of alcohol (drug), alcohol that results in significant Mental health, mental or physical health problems. Alcoholism is not a recognized diagnostic entity. Predominant diagnostic classifications are alcoho ...
. Due to the direct toxic effects of alcohol on heart muscle, the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently, leading to heart failure. It can affect other parts of the body if the heart failure is severe. It is most common in males between the ages of 35 and 50.


Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms presented by the occurrence of alcoholic cardiomyopathy are the result of the heart failing and usually occur after the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. Therefore, the symptoms have a lot in common with other forms of
cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy is a group of diseases that affect the heart muscle Cardiac muscle (also called heart muscle or myocardium) is one of three types of vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metaz ...
. These symptoms can include the following:
/ref> * Ankle, feet, and leg swelling (
edema Edema, also spelled oedema, and also known as fluid retention, dropsy, hydropsy and swelling, is the build-up of fluid in the body's tissue Tissue may refer to: Biology * Tissue (biology), an ensemble of similar cells that together carry out a ...

edema
) * Overall swelling *
Loss of appetite Anorexia is a decreased appetite Appetite is the desire to eat food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organis ...
* Shortness of breath (
dyspnea Shortness of breath (SOB), also known as dyspnea (BrE British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codificat ...
), especially with activity * Breathing difficulty while lying down * Fatigue, weakness, faintness * Decreased alertness or concentration * Cough containing mucus, or pink, frothy material * Decreased urine output (
oliguria Oliguria or hypouresis is the low output of urine specifically more than 80 ml/day but less than 400ml/day.Boon et al, Davidson's Principles & Practice of Medicine (20th Ed), p475 The decreased output of urine may be a sign of dehydration, kidney f ...
) * Need to urinate at night (
nocturia Nocturia is defined by the International Continence Society (ICS) as “the complaint that the individual has to wake at night one or more times for voiding (''i.e. to urinate'').” The term is derived from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical ...
) * Heart palpitations (irregular heart beat) * Rapid pulse (
tachycardia Tachycardia, also called tachyarrhythmia, is a heart rate that exceeds the normal resting rate. In general, a resting heart rate over 100 beats per minute is accepted as tachycardia in adults. Heart rates above the resting rate may be normal (s ...
)


Diagnosis

Abnormal heart sounds, murmurs,
ECG Electrocardiography is the process of producing an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). It is an electrogram of the heart The heart is a cardiac muscle, muscular Organ (biology), organ in most animals, which pumps blood through the blood ...

ECG
abnormalities, and enlarged heart on chest x-ray may lead to the diagnosis.
Echocardiogram An echocardiography, echocardiogram, cardiac echo or simply an echo, is an Medical ultrasound, ultrasound of the heart. It is a type of medical imaging of the heart, using standard ultrasound or Doppler echocardiography, Doppler ultrasound. Echoc ...

Echocardiogram
abnormalities and
cardiac catheterization Cardiac catheterization (heart cath) is the insertion of a catheter In medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understan ...
or
angiogram Angiography or arteriography is a medical imaging Medical imaging is the technique and process of imaging the interior of a body for clinical analysis and medical intervention, as well as visual representation of the function of some organs o ...

angiogram
to rule out coronary artery blockages, along with a history of heavy alcohol use can confirm the diagnosis.


Treatment

Treatment for alcoholic cardiomyopathy involves lifestyle changes, including complete abstinence from alcohol use, a low sodium diet, and fluid restriction, as well as medications. Medications may include
ACE inhibitors Angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) are a class of medication used primarily for the treatment of hypertension, high blood pressure and heart failure. They work by causing relaxation of blood vessels as well as a decrease i ...
,
beta blockers Beta blockers (beta-blockers, β-blockers, etc.) are a class of medications that are predominantly used to manage cardiac arrhythmia, abnormal heart rhythms, and to protect the heart from a second heart attack (myocardial infarction) after a firs ...
, and
diuretics A diuretic () is any substance that promotes diuresis, the increased production of urine Urine is a liquid by-product of metabolism in humans and in many other animals. Urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the urinary bladder. U ...
which are commonly used in other forms of cardiomyopathy to reduce the strain on the heart. Persons with congestive heart failure may be considered for surgical insertion of an
ICD The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is a globally used diagnostic Diagnosis is the identification of the nature and cause of a certain phenomenon. Diagnosis is used in many different academic discipline, disciplines, with variations ...

ICD
or a
pacemaker A cardiac pacemaker (or artificial pacemaker, so as not to be confused with the natural pacemaker of the heart The heart is a muscle, muscular Organ (anatomy), organ in most animals, which pumps blood through the blood vessels of the cir ...
which can improve heart function. In cases where the heart failure is irreversible and worsening,
heart transplant A heart transplant, or a cardiac transplant, is a surgical transplant procedure performed on patients with end-stage heart failure Heart failure (HF), also known as congestive heart failure (CHF), (congestive) cardiac failure (CCF), and decomp ...

heart transplant
may be considered. Treatment will possibly prevent the heart from further deterioration, and the cardiomyopathy is largely reversible if complete abstinence from alcohol is maintained.


References


External links

{{Heart diseases Cardiomyopathy Alcohol and health