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Eur Heart J. 2000 Feb;21(4):306-14.

Comparison of long-term outcome of alcoholic and idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.

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Service de Cardiologie B et Laboratoire d'électrophysiologie cardiaque, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Trousseau, Tours, France.



The outcome of alcoholic cardiomyopathy is thought to be better than idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy if patients abstain from alcohol. The aim of this study was to compare the long-term clinical outcome of alcoholic and idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.


Of 134 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and normal coronary angiography, 50 had alcoholic cardiomyopathy; they were compared serially to 84 patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Left ventricular end-diastolic diameter, left ventricular ejection fraction and cardiac index, severity of ventricular arrhythmias, measurement of heart rate variability and results of signal-averaged ECG were similar in both groups. Although alcohol withdrawal was strongly recommended but observed in only 70% of patients with alcoholic cardiomyopathy, both groups had similar outcome in terms of cardiac death after follow-up treatment of 47+/-40 months. Multivariate analysis in the entire cohort demonstrated that increased pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (P=0. 003), alcoholism and lack of abstinence during follow-up (P=0.006) and decreased standard deviation of all normal-to-normal RR intervals (P=0.02) were independent predictors of cardiac death.


In contrast with previous studies, patients with alcoholic cardiomyopathy did not have a better outcome than patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Alcoholism without abstinence was a strong predictor of cardiac death. This suggests that a more aggressive approach to alcohol cessation is needed in these patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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