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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 91

of 'Alcoholic cardiomyopathy'

Differences of disease progression in congestive heart failure due to alcoholic as compared to idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.
Prazak P, Pfisterer M, Osswald S, Buser P, Burkart F
Eur Heart J. 1996;17(2):251.
In patients with alcoholic cardiomyopathy there is evidence that mild heart failure is reversible if patients abstain from alcohol, but there is no consensus whether the disease is progressive once structural myocardial dilation has evolved. The aim of the present study was to compare the long-term course of congestive heart failure due to alcoholic and idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Of 75 patients with overt congestive heart failure, 23 had alcoholic cardiomyopathy and were compared to 52 patients with idiopathic cardiomyopathy. The mean age was 48 +/- 12 years. Despite medical therapy, heart failure class New York Heart Association III-IV was present in 52% of patients with alcoholic and 47% of patients with idiopathic cardiomyopathy (not significant). Their mean left ventricular ejection fraction was 30 +/- 12% vs 28 +/- 12% and left ventricular end-diastolic volumes were 264 +/- 125 ml and 254 +/- 100 ml respectively (not significant). Overall survival at 1, 5 and 10 years was 100%, 81% and 81% for the group with alcoholic dilated cardiomyopathy and 89%, 48% and 30% for the group with idiopathic cardiomyopathy, respectively (P = 0.041), and the difference was even greater for transplant-free survival P = 0.005). Clinical and invasive signs of left and right heart failure as well as left ventricular dimensions were predictive of a fatal outcome; however, symptom duration and left ventricular volumes were only predictive in patients with idiopathic cardiomyopathy, suggesting that in the two patient groups different mechanisms may lead to death. Mortality in patients with severe congestive heart failure and left ventricular dilatation due to alcoholic cardiomyopathy is significantly lower than that in patients with idiopathic cardiomyopathy and similar degrees of heart failure. Thus, despite structural changes inherent in marked left ventricular dilatation, disease progression in alcoholic dilated cardiomyopathy is different from that in idiopathic cardiomyopathy and thus may have implications for the choice of therapy.
Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland.