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The Natural Course of Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy

JOHN G. DEMAKIS, M.D.; ALOYSIUS PROSKEY, M.D.; SHAHBUDIN H. RAHIMTOOLA, M.B., F.R.C.P., F.A.C.P.; MOHAMMED JAMIL, M.D.; GEORGE C. SUTTON, M.D., F.A.C.P.; KENNETH M. ROSEN, M.D.; ROLF M. GUNNAR, M.D., F.A.C.P.; and JOHN R. TOBIN JR., M.D., F.A.C.P.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: RN-63-24, the Chicago Heart Association; HE-9666, the National Heart and Lung Institute, U.S. Public Health Service; and the Preble Laboratory Research Fund.

Presented 4 March 1972 at the Twenty-First Annual Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology, Chicago, Illinois.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to S. H. Rahimtoola, M.D., Department of Medicine, University of Oregon Medical School, 3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97201.


Chicago, Illinois


Ann Intern Med. 1974;80(3):293-297. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-80-3-293
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Fifty-seven patients with cardiomyopathy associated with alcoholism were followed for an average of 40.5 months (range, 4 months to 8 years). None of the patients were treated with prolonged bed rest. During the follow-up period, the clinical status improved in 15 patients (group A), was stable in 12 patients (group B), and had deteriorated in 30 patients (group C). Seventy-three percent of the group A patients abstained from alcohol, whereas in groups B and C only 25% and 13% of patients, respectively, abstained. These differences were significant—P < 0.03 (group A versus B) and P < 0.001 (group A versus C). The average duration of symptoms in the group A patients was 4.2 months and was significantly (P < 0.05) shorter than that of patients in groups B and C (17 and 11.1 months, respectively). Only 10 patients (17%), all in group A, had a return of heart size to normal. Twenty-four patients (42%), all in group C, died in an average time of 36 months; thus, a short duration of symptoms before initiation of therapy and abstention from alcohol were associated with a more favorable course.

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