Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is caused by long-term heavy alcohol use. 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 muscle cells.
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.
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.
Current as of: December 16, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine George Philippides MD - Cardiology
Medical Review:Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & George Philippides MD - Cardiology