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Minerva Medica 2021 December;112(6):786-91

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4806.21.07848-4


language: English

May standard basal echocardiogram allow to obtain predictors of asymptomatic cardiac dysfunction in alcoholics?

Gian M. ROSA 1, 2, Riccardo SCAGLIOLA 1, Gabriele ZOPPOLI 2, 3, Valentina PERNA 1, Angelo BUSCAGLIA 1, Alessandro BERRI 4, Roberta DELLA BONA 1, 2, Italo PORTO 1, 2, Rinaldo PELLICANO 5, Gianni TESTINO 4

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Clinic of Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 2 Cardiovascular Network, IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy; 3 Unit of Internal Medicine and Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine (Di.M.I.), University of Genoa, Genova, Italy; 4 Unit of Addiction and Hepatology, Alcohological Regional Center, San Martino Hospital, ASL3, Genoa, Italy; 5 Unit of Gastroenterology, Molinette Hospital, Turin, Italy

BACKGROUND: Long-lasting heavy alcohol intake has been progressively recognized as a leading cause of nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy, involving 10% of all people who use alcohol. It is of huge importance to identify the earliest markers of this dysfunction and it is known that the newest echocardiographic techniques such as speckle tracking may allow to do it. In this study we investigated if standard basal echocardiogram features allow to obtain predictors of asymptomatic cardiac dysfunction in alcoholics.
METHODS: A population of 80 consecutive asymptomatic alcoholics was enrolled. None presented history, signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease. All of them underwent a conventional transthoracic monobidimensional and doppler echocardiography.
RESULTS: Our cohort did not present echocardiographic findings of increased left ventricular sizes, mass or relative wall thickness. Hence, a significant rate of systolic dysfunction was not found. Furthermore, statistical analysis displayed an inverse relationship between alcohol consumption and systolic pulmonary arterial pressure as well as between alcohol abuse and left atrium enlargement. This may be explained by a potential vasodilator mechanism occurring in the earliest stages of alcohol intake. On the contrary, a positive correlation with the E/A ratio was found, and this might be ascribed to state of high cardiac output determined by alcohol abuse. There were modes sex-related differences.
CONCLUSIONS: This study has demonstrated that standard echocardiography may allow to predict cardiac dysfunction in asymptomatic alcoholics, and sex-related differences may be identified in this regard. These data need to be confirmed by further studies involving larger population.

KEY WORDS: Alcoholism; Echocardiography; Diastole

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