Preclinical left ventricular abnormalities in alcoholics are independent of nutritional status, cirrhosis, and cigarette smoking

Lancet. 1985 May 18;1(8438):1122-5. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(85)92431-6.


M mode echo recordings of the left ventricle (LV) were performed in 33 patients with alcoholic liver disease, 26 patients with various non-alcoholic liver diseases, and in 18 non-alcoholic controls. Groups were well matched for age and overall nutritional status (as assessed by anthropometry) and none of the subjects studied had cardiorespiratory symptoms. Alcoholics had significantly increased LV free wall thickness and LV cavity dimension at end diastole (EDD). Multiple regression analysis of the data identified alcohol abuse as the most important variable affecting EDD, and this relation could not be explained by differences in age, sex, overall nutrition, cigarette smoking, thiamine status (total blood thiamine and thiamine pyrophosphate concentration), presence of liver disease, or severity of liver disease (cirrhotic vs non-cirrhotic). The increase in LV free wall thickness was not significantly related to alcohol abuse. These results suggest that chronic alcohol abuse is an important independent risk factor for cardiac dilatation, and that increase in EDD may be an early marker of alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Alcoholic / diagnosis
  • Cardiomyopathy, Alcoholic / etiology*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Alcoholic / physiopathology
  • Diastole
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking*
  • Thiamine Deficiency / complications