Alcohol-Induced Cardiomyopathy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Additionally, because the heart cannot pump the blood as it should, the heart begins to expand to hold the excess blood. This expansion causes the walls of the heart to become thinner as the heart itself becomes larger, eventually affecting the muscles’ and the vessel’s ability to function. If a dog is showing possible signs of DCM or other heart conditions, including decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing and episodes of collapse, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. If the symptoms are severe and your veterinarian is not available, you may need to seek emergency veterinary care. Your veterinarian may ask you for a thorough dietary history, including all the foods (including treats) the dog has eaten. As animal lovers and pet owners, FDA employees understand that the sudden onset of a life-threatening disease in a previously healthy pet can be devastating.

alcoholic cardiomyopathy

At the 6-month recheck, CVCA will also conduct a repeat echocardiogram to assess any changes to the heart. As of April 30, 2019, CVCA and Vet-LIRN have collected initial samples from 14 dogs, and 1 to 2-month samples from 10 dogs. Although anticoagulation may be of benefit to patients with profound LV dysfunction and atrial fibrillation, the risks must be weighed heavily in this patient population. The best way to reduce your risk of developing alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy is to only drink in moderation.

Diseases of the circulatory system

Among chronic alcoholics with alcoholic cardiomyopathy in the initial stages, cardiac conduction abnormalities and arrhythmias are more frequently diagnosed than cardiac failure. In 1978 Ettinger introduced the ‘holiday heart syndrome’ – supraventricular arrhythmia after drinking binges (Ettinger et al., 1978). Atrial arrhythmias are common in alcoholic patients, and these are particularly sensitive to the arrhythmogenic effects of acute ethanol consumption. Dysrhythmias that occur in chronic alcoholics following binge drinking are also observed in patients without cardiomegaly or clinical cardiomyopathy (Ettinger et al., 1978; Greenspon and Schaal, 1983).

  • Changes in your heart’s shape can also disrupt that organ’s electrical system.
  • Treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy may include medications or surgery to implant a medical device that controls the heartbeat or helps the heart pump blood.
  • In patients with chronic alcohol use disorders and severe heart failure prognosis is poor, since continued alcohol abuse results in refractory congestive heart failure.
  • Some people with dilated cardiomyopathy don’t have any signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

In patients with dilated cardiomyopathy, if additional questions remain after a history is obtained and noninvasive testing is performed, cardiac catheterization may be used to help exclude other etiologies of heart failure. Palpitations, dizziness, and syncope are common complaints and are frequently caused by arrhythmias (eg, atrial fibrillation, flutter) and premature contractions. In the setting of acute alcohol use or intoxication, this is called holiday heart syndrome, because the incidence is increased following weekends and during holiday seasons. Physical examination findings in alcoholic cardiomyopathy (AC) are not unique compared with findings in dilated cardiomyopathy from other causes. Elevated systemic blood pressure may reflect excessive intake of alcohol, but not AC per se. Some studies have suggested that a genetic vulnerability exists to the myocardial effects of alcohol consumption.

Alcohol and its Effects on the Heart

Certain microscopic features may suggest damage secondary to alcohol causing cardiomyopathy. Commonly seen cellular structural alterations include changes in the mitochondrial reticulum, cluster formation of mitochondria and disappearance of inter-mitochondrial junctions. Myocardial depression secondary to alcohol is initially reversible however prolonged sustained alcohol use leads to irreversible dysfunction. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. What’s more, alcohol can contribute to obesity and the long list of health problems that can go along with it. Alcohol is a source of excess calories and a cause of weight gain that can be harmful in the long term.

  • Because of the ease and speed of the test and its noninvasive nature, it is the study of choice in the initial and follow-up evaluation of most forms of cardiomyopathy.
  • Epidemics of heart failure in persons who had consumed beer contaminated with arsenic in the 1900s and cobalt in the 1960s also obscured the observation that alcohol could exhibit a direct toxic effect.
  • The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), a collaboration of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories, continue to investigate this potential association.

Frequently, a relative decrease occurs in systolic blood pressure because of reduced cardiac output and increased diastolic blood pressure due to peripheral vasoconstriction, resulting in a decrease in the pulse pressure. Ask any patient presenting with new heart failure of unclear etiology about their alcohol history, with attention to daily, maximal, and lifetime intake and the duration of that intake. Your doctor might prescribe ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers to help lower your blood pressure. If your heart is severely damaged, your doctor may recommend an implantable defibrillator or pacemaker to help your heart work.

Acute effects of alcohol on cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmogenesis: Insights from multiscale in silico analyses

G., in medieval times, when people took advantage of the vasodilating properties of alcohol to treat angina pectoris or heart failure. So Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179), one of the most prominent mysticians alcoholic cardiomyopathy of her time, recommended her heart wine as a universal remedy. One liter of wine was cooked for 4 min with 10 fresh parsley stems, 1 spoon of vinegar, and 300 g honey and then filtered [11].

alcoholic cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy secondary to alcohol use does not have a pre-defined exposure time. Daily alcohol consumption of 80 g per day or more for more than 5 years significantly increases the risk, however not all chronic alcohol users will develop Alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy. As a net effect, negative inotropism may result and contribute to heart failure.

When the cardiovascular system is exposed to ethanol, acute and chronic changes occur in both systolic and diastolic functioning, with the most significant being a depression in contractility. If alcohol consumption continues, 40–50% of patients will die within 3–6 years [30], because continued consumption leads to further myocardial damage and fibrosis. The metabolites of alcohol, acetaldehyde and acetate, can have direct toxic effects on the heart as well. Complete abstinence may stop the progression of heart failure or even allow for recovery in early stages [31–33]. All patients with severe ventricular dysfunction, regardless of cause, should avoid alcohol because of the risk for worsening of their heart failure. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy (ACM) is a cardiac disease caused by chronic alcohol consumption.

  • Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is best managed with an interprofessional approach with the involvement of primary care physician and cardiology.
  • Consider a heart-healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet.
  • The German word for it is Kieselguhr, a beige powder made up of the skeletons of diatoms.
  • Per the American Heart Affiliation
    (AHA), liquor is one of the foremost sources of enlarged cardiomyopathy.
  • Long-term alcohol abuse weakens and thins the heart muscle, affecting its ability to pump blood.
  • However, even reducing your drinking to light or moderate levels is better than continuing to drink heavily.

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