Alcoholic cardiomyopathy - Clinicals, Diagnosis, and Management

Cardiovascular

Clinicals - History

Fact Explanation
Asymptomatic Many are asymptomatic during the early stages of the disease. Asymptomatic
Many are asymptomatic during the early stages of the disease.
History of harmful alcohol consumption Alcoholic cardiomyopathy can occur secondary to harmful use of alcohol. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a result of thiamin and other vitamin deficiencies due to alcoholism. History of harmful alcohol consumption
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy can occur secondary to harmful use of alcohol. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a result of thiamin and other vitamin deficiencies due to alcoholism.
Dyspnea Patients develop dyspnea due to congestive cardiac failure and pulmonary edema. Often patients develop dyspnea with exertion. In severe heart failure patients can be dyspnoeic even at rest. Dyspnea
Patients develop dyspnea due to congestive cardiac failure and pulmonary edema. Often patients develop dyspnea with exertion. In severe heart failure patients can be dyspnoeic even at rest.
Orthopnea Patients complain of dyspnea on lying down. Sometimes patients may wake up in the night with episodes of cough frothy sputum and dyspnea. All of these symptoms are due to heart failure and pulmonary edema. Orthopnea
Patients complain of dyspnea on lying down. Sometimes patients may wake up in the night with episodes of cough frothy sputum and dyspnea. All of these symptoms are due to heart failure and pulmonary edema.
Peripheral edema Peripheral edema develops due to heart failure. This may be exacerbated by the presence of cirrhosis in some patients. Peripheral edema
Peripheral edema develops due to heart failure. This may be exacerbated by the presence of cirrhosis in some patients.
Sudden cardiac death Patients with dilated cardiomyopathy can present with sudden cardiac death. Sudden cardiac death
Patients with dilated cardiomyopathy can present with sudden cardiac death.

Clinicals - Examination

Fact Explanation
Shifted apex beat The apex beat is shifted inferiorly and laterally due to cardiomegaly. Shifted apex beat
The apex beat is shifted inferiorly and laterally due to cardiomegaly.
Hypotension Blood pressure can be low due to reduced cardiac output in systolic dysfunction. Hypotension
Blood pressure can be low due to reduced cardiac output in systolic dysfunction.
Elevated Jugular venous pressure (JVP) JVP is elevated in the presence of heart failure. Elevated Jugular venous pressure (JVP)
JVP is elevated in the presence of heart failure.
Tachycardia Pulse rate increases to compensate for hypotension and to maintain the cardiac output. Tachycardia
Pulse rate increases to compensate for hypotension and to maintain the cardiac output.
Pulsatile liver Pulsatile liver can result due to right ventricular failure. Later it may progress to cardiac cirrhosis. Pulsatile liver
Pulsatile liver can result due to right ventricular failure. Later it may progress to cardiac cirrhosis.
Signs of heart failure Peripheral edema, diffuse pulmonary crackles, diminished first heart sound, tachycardia and gallop rhythm are clinical signs of heart failure. Signs of heart failure
Peripheral edema, diffuse pulmonary crackles, diminished first heart sound, tachycardia and gallop rhythm are clinical signs of heart failure.
Parotid enlargement Enlarged and palpable parotid glands are seen in chronic alcoholism. Parotid enlargement
Enlarged and palpable parotid glands are seen in chronic alcoholism.
Signs of chronic liver disease Alcoholism can cause cirrhosis. Once the patient develops cirrhosis they can have palmar erythema, spider nevi, jaundice and scratch marks. Abdominal examination will reveal shrunken liver, with or without splenomegaly and ascites. If the patient develops hepatic encephalopathy fetor hepaticus, hepatic flaps, altered consciousness and impaired attention can be elicited. Signs of chronic liver disease
Alcoholism can cause cirrhosis. Once the patient develops cirrhosis they can have palmar erythema, spider nevi, jaundice and scratch marks. Abdominal examination will reveal shrunken liver, with or without splenomegaly and ascites. If the patient develops hepatic encephalopathy fetor hepaticus, hepatic flaps, altered consciousness and impaired attention can be elicited.

Investigations - Diagnosis

Fact Explanation
Electrocardiography (ECG) Left ventricular hypertrophy can be present. Electrocardiography (ECG)
Left ventricular hypertrophy can be present.
Echocardiography Dimensions of the cardiac chambers can be measured. The ventricular wall thickness is either normal or decreased. There is demonstrable systolic dysfunction and poor contractility. Echocardiography
Dimensions of the cardiac chambers can be measured. The ventricular wall thickness is either normal or decreased. There is demonstrable systolic dysfunction and poor contractility.
Chest X-ray Signs of heart failure that can be detected in chest X-ray include, alveolar edema, Kerley B lines, cardiomegaly, upper lobe diversion and pleural effusions. Chest X-ray
Signs of heart failure that can be detected in chest X-ray include, alveolar edema, Kerley B lines, cardiomegaly, upper lobe diversion and pleural effusions.
B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels In heart failure BNP is elevated. BNP is secreted from the dilated and pressure overloaded ventricles. This is highly sensitive in diagnosing heart failure. B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels
In heart failure BNP is elevated. BNP is secreted from the dilated and pressure overloaded ventricles. This is highly sensitive in diagnosing heart failure.
Thallium scintigraphy Areas of reversible ischemia can be identified with this. Thallium scintigraphy
Areas of reversible ischemia can be identified with this.
Cardiac catheterization Cardiac catheterization is helpful in assessing hemodynamic status, systolic and diastolic function. Cardiac catheterization
Cardiac catheterization is helpful in assessing hemodynamic status, systolic and diastolic function.

Investigations - Management

Fact Explanation
Liver function test Hepatic transaminases, coagulation profile and serum bilirubin levels should be assessed as chronic alcoholism may have lead to cirrhosis. Liver function test
Hepatic transaminases, coagulation profile and serum bilirubin levels should be assessed as chronic alcoholism may have lead to cirrhosis.
Renal function test Serum electrolytes and serum creatinine assess the basic renal function as hepatorenal syndrome is one of the complications of cirrhosis. Renal function test
Serum electrolytes and serum creatinine assess the basic renal function as hepatorenal syndrome is one of the complications of cirrhosis.

Management - Supportive

Fact Explanation
Patient education Patients should be advised to quit the consumption of alcohol. At least alcohol consumption should be cut down to safe levels (one or two drinks per day). Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is potentially reversible if the patient maintain abstinence. Patient education
Patients should be advised to quit the consumption of alcohol. At least alcohol consumption should be cut down to safe levels (one or two drinks per day). Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is potentially reversible if the patient maintain abstinence.
Dietary modifications A low salt diet and fluid restriction will minimize the risk of fluid overload. Dietary modifications
A low salt diet and fluid restriction will minimize the risk of fluid overload.

Management - Specific

Fact Explanation
Management of heart failure Drugs which are used in the management of heart failure are angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, diuretics and digoxin. These are considered the first line treatment options. In addition beta blockers and inotrophs can also be used. Management of heart failure
Drugs which are used in the management of heart failure are angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, diuretics and digoxin. These are considered the first line treatment options. In addition beta blockers and inotrophs can also be used.
Antiarrhythmic drugs Arrhythmia is a preventable complication of cardiomyopathy. Antiarrhythmic drugs are indicated for treatment of arrhythmia. Antiarrhythmic drugs
Arrhythmia is a preventable complication of cardiomyopathy. Antiarrhythmic drugs are indicated for treatment of arrhythmia.
Thrombo-prophylaxis Patients with dilated cardiomyopathies are at risk of formation of thrombi and pulmonary or systemic embolization. Heparin or warfarin is used for the purpose of anticoagulation. Thrombo-prophylaxis
Patients with dilated cardiomyopathies are at risk of formation of thrombi and pulmonary or systemic embolization. Heparin or warfarin is used for the purpose of anticoagulation.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy Patients who are symptomatic (NYHA class III or IV heart failure) even with adequate medical management and who are having cardiac dyssynchrony are eligible for cardiac resynchronization therapy. Cardiac resynchronization therapy
Patients who are symptomatic (NYHA class III or IV heart failure) even with adequate medical management and who are having cardiac dyssynchrony are eligible for cardiac resynchronization therapy.
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator This is indicated in patients with high risk of sudden cardiac death. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
This is indicated in patients with high risk of sudden cardiac death.
Heart transplantation This is the last option of treatment. Heart transplantation
This is the last option of treatment.
Left ventricular assist device Patients who are not fit enough for heart transplantation left ventricular assist device will improve the quality of life. Left ventricular assist device
Patients who are not fit enough for heart transplantation left ventricular assist device will improve the quality of life.

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