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Alcoholic cardiomyopathy

  • Alternative Names

    Cardiomyopathy - alcoholic


    You may be placed on a low-salt diet, and the amount of liquids you drink may be restricted.

    Heart failure may be treated with diuretics (furosemide and spironolactone) to remove excessive fluid from your body, and with ACE inhibitors and beta blockers.

    In people with congestive heart failure and severely weakened pumping functions, an implantable defibrillator (ICD) may help them live longer. In some cases, a biventricular pacemaker improves symptoms and quality of life. A single device that combines a biventricular pacemaker and an ICD may be recommended.

    A heart transplant may be considered when the cardiomyopathy is not reversible.

    Eventually, nutritional problems involving thiamine, phosphorus, potassium, or magnesium levels may require treatment.

    Support Groups

    For more information on support groups where members share common experiences and problems, see alcoholism support groups and heart disease support groups.

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Total abstinence from alcohol may stop the disease and improve the heart's functioning, although people with severe heart damage may never return to normal.

    Once the heart damage and heart failure is irreversible, the outlook is poor.

    • Congestive heart failure
    • Heart arrhythmias, including lethal arrhythmias

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your provider if you have any symptoms of heart failure or cardiomyopathy.

    Call your provider if alcoholic cardiomyopathy has been diagnosed and symptoms do not improve with treatment.

    Go to the emergency room or call 911 if you have alcoholic cardiomyopathy and experience severe chest pain, palpitations, or fainting.