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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. If your heart gets weaker, you may develop heart
failure. Alcohol in excessive quantities has a directly toxic effect on heart
Symptoms are the result of the weakened heart muscle. Symptoms 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 alcoholic cardiomyopathy worse.
Treatment includes medicines and lifestyle changes.
Other Works Consulted
Bozkurt B, et al. (2016). Current diagnosis and treatment strategies for specific dilated cardiomyopathies: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 134(23): e579–e646. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000455. Accessed December 16, 2016.
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.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologyMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerGeorge Philippides, MD - Cardiology
Current as ofMarch 17, 2017
Current as of:
March 17, 2017
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & George Philippides, MD - Cardiology
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