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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 372-376

Cardiac pathology in chronic alcoholics: A preliminary study


1 Department of Pathology (Cardiovascular and Thoracic Division), Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Biochemistry, Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. P Vaideeswar
Department of Pathology (Cardiovascular and Thoracic Division), Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: Research Society, Seth G. S. Medical College andK.E.M. Hospital, Mumbai., Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.143958

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Background: Ethyl alcohol exerts both positive and negative effects on the cardiovascular system. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy, produced by direct or indirect mechanisms, is well-documented. An important, but seldom appreciated effect is an increase in iron deposition in the myocardium, which can add to the cardiac dysfunction. The present study was planned to document the pathological features and iron levels in the cardiac tissue of patients who were chronic alcoholics and correlate these characteristics with the liver pathology and iron content. Materials and Methods: An autopsy-based prospective study of 40 consecutive patients compared with ten age matched controls (no history of alcohol intake). Histopathological changes like the morphology of the cardiac myocytes, degree of fibrosis (interstitial, interfiber, perivascular, and replacement), presence of inflammatory cells, increased capillary network, and adipose tissue deposition were noted and graded. These were also correlated with the liver pathology. The iron content in the heart and liver were measured by using calorimetry. Results: All cases had increased epicardial adipose tissue with epicardial and endocardial fibrosis, prominence of interstitial and interfiber fibrosis, myofiber degeneration, and increased capillary network; this was particularly prominent in patients with cirrhosis. Elemental iron level in heart tissue was raised in the cases relative to controls. Conclusions: Alcohol produces subclinical changes in the myocardium, with an increased iron content, which may be the forerunner for subsequent clinical cardiac dysfunction.






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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow