Prediction of recovery after abstinence in alcoholic cardiomyopathy: Role of hemodynamic and morphometric parameters

Luigi La Vecchia, Francesco Bedogni, Loredana Bozzola, Pierantonio Bevilacqua, Renato Ometto, Mario Vincenzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the study is to describe the hemodynamic and morphometric characteristics of patients with alcoholic cardiomyopathy (ACM) and to evaluate whether these parameters can identify the subgroup of patients in whom recovery of cardiac function after abstinence will occur. Nineteen male patients (mean age 52.4 years, range 39-64 years) with symptomatic left ventricular dysfunction (LVD) [ejection fraction (EF) <50%] and a history of chronic heavy alcohol intake were submitted to a full invasive work-up including right ventricular endomyocardial biopsy (EMB). Counseling aimed at obtaining abstention and clinical follow-up were regularly performed in all patients. The two requisites necessary to define recovery were (1) an increase in left ventricular EF, and (2) improvement of symptoms. The former was defined as a gain in left ventricular EF > 15% from baseline; the latter, as a gain of at least one New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class. Using these criteria, 9 alcoholic patients (48%) (Group A) improved significantly, while 10 (52%) (Group B) either stabilized or deteriorated at 2 years' follow-up. Group A patients had significantly lower pulmonary artery mean pressure (27.8 mmHg ±13.3 vs. 40.3 mmHg ±12.4; p <0.05) and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (18.4 mmHg ±8.9 vs. 26.5 mmHg ±7.7; p <0.05) compared with Group B. All other hemodynamic data did not show statistically significant differences in the two groups. Quantitative evaluation of myocardial hypertrophy and interstitial fibrosis performed on EMB tissue samples using the morphometric approach was not predictive of recovery. Improvement in cardiac performance and functional class was detected in about one-half of patients with ACM who abstained from alcohol, and occurred even in cases presenting with severe LVD. Recovery is associated with significantly lower pulmonary artery and pulmonary wedge pressures. The morphometric evaluation of EMB does not provide adjunctive prognostic information in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-50
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Cardiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1996


  • alcoholic cardiomyopathy
  • cardiac catheterization
  • endomyocardial biopsy
  • left ventricular dysfunction
  • morphometry
  • prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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