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    Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy

    Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy

    Topic Overview

    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 muscle cells.

    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.

    Related Information

    References

    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.

    Credits

    By Healthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
    Specialist Medical Reviewer George Philippides, MD - Cardiology
    Last Revised July 24, 2012

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