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Vulnerability to cardiac disease.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Recent developments in alcoholism : an official publication of the American Medical Society on Alcoholism, the Research Society on Alcoholism, and the National Council on Alcoholism
Publication Date
Volume
9
Pages
225–260
Identifiers
PMID: 1758986
Source
Medline

Abstract

Chronic consumption of ethanol has deleterious effects on the cardiovascular system, as manifested by an attenuation in myocardial contractility, a reduction in cardiac output, and the induction of arrhythmia. The arrhythmogenic effect of ethanol is associated with the high incidence of sudden death in alcoholics. Further, alcohol was found to potentiate arrhythmias due to nonpenetrating chest trauma, a finding of profound clinical significance. In addition, chronic ethanol consumption is closely linked to hypertension. Whether modest alcohol consumption may protect against coronary artery disease is controversial and not clearly established. Cessation of alcohol consumption occasionally results in reversal of ethanol-induced myocardial injury. However, the transition from ethanol-induced reversible injury to permanent heart damage is not well understood. Finally, the combined effects on the myocardium of alcohol and other abused drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines, and the interaction of ethanol with chemicals such as nicotine, digitalis, and other medicaments are not well understood and may be fatal.

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