Alcohol abstinence vs persistent alcohol consumption in alcoholic cardiomyopathy: impact on long-term prognosis European Heart Journal

This damage happens because parts of your heart stretch and enlarge. That weakens your heart muscle, keeping it from pumping as well as it should. Over time, this means your heart can’t pump blood as effectively, which reduces your body’s available oxygen supply. Alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy is a condition where your heart changes shape because of long-term heavy alcohol use. The changes to your heart’s shape cause long-term damage, leading to heart failure and severe problems.


alcoholic cardiomyopathy depression is initially reversible but, if alcohol consumption is sustained, can lead to myocyte vacuolization, mitochondrial abnormalities, and myocardial fibrosis. Even in chronic stages, however, the heart failure represents a sum of both reversible and irreversible myocardial dysfunction. The amount of alcohol necessary to produce symptomatic cardiomyopathy in susceptible individuals is not known but has been estimated to be six drinks (∼4 oz of pure ethanol) a day for 5 to 10 years. Frequent binging without heavy daily consumption may also be sufficient. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy can present with signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure. Patients may present with dilated cardiomyopathy with systolic dysfunction.

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Excessive drinking can also contribute tocardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy develops as a result of heavy and usually chronic alcohol abuse. Over time, excessive drinking weakens the heart muscles and impairs their ability to pump blood.

In general, most people who stop drinking alcohol will feel better over the next three to six months. However, certain symptoms may start to improve even sooner, depending on treatments and the severity of your case. In more severe or complicated cases, especially ones involving surgery, some symptoms may not improve for even longer. Overall, your healthcare provider is the best source of information and answers when it comes to your recovery. The available research shows that if you limit your alcohol intake to a certain amount, you’re less likely to develop alcohol-related health problems, including alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy.

What tests will be done to diagnose this condition?

Depending on the severity of, surgery might be a treatment option. Doctors may recommend open-heart surgery or even a heart transplant to replace the diseased heart. Surgically implanted devices like pacemakers, cardiac resynchronization therapy devices, left ventricular assist devices, and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, can aid in making the heart work better. During the exam, a doctor will identify specific factors that relate to an alcoholic cardiomyopathy diagnosis. Alcoholics who also have high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, and other underlying issues might be at an even higher risk for developing alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

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