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Am Heart J. 1998 May;135(5 Pt 1):833-7.

Alcohol consumption and idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy: a case control study.

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Department of Clinical Cardiology, National Cardiac Centre, Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.



Alcohol has been implicated as a risk factor for idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), but a causal relation has not been established. The objective of this study was to determine the association between alcohol consumption and DCM.


Questionnaires detailing average weekly intake of alcohol, total lifetime consumption, and alcohol abuse were administered in a cohort of well-defined patients with DCM and a randomly selected, population-based control group.


Significantly more of the 100 patients with DCM than the 211 members of the control group drank greater than the recommended weekly intake of alcohol (40% vs 24%; p < 0.01) and were alcohol abusers according to the CAGE questionnaire (27% vs 16%; p < 0.05). The average total lifetime consumption measured in units of alcohol was also significantly greater in cases than in the control group (31,200 vs 7,904; p < 0.01). Patients with familial DCM were not significantly more likely to consume alcohol above recommended limits or to be alcohol abusers compared with nonfamilial cases.


This study confirms previous suspicion of a causal association between alcohol and DCM, with significantly more patients than members of the control group either abusing alcohol or drinking it in excess of recommended limits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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