Alcohol intake (with wine, beer and especially spirits) has an impact on various organs, including the cardiovascular system, and particularly the heart.

In fact, ethyl alcohol (ethanol) causes a reduction in the contractile capacity of heart cells and favours the onset of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias.

The damage can be greater if illegal drugs are taken together with alcohol.

The dose of alcohol associated with cardiac toxicity is about 1 g per kg of weight, which is equivalent to about 500 cc of wine at 12° for a 70 kg person.

Chronic excessive consumption of ethanol can cause left-ventricular dilatation and dysfunction up to a clinical picture of heart failure and Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). It is also associated with arterial hypertension and cerebrovascular accidents, atrial arrhythmias (atrial fibrillation) and ventricular arrhythmias up to sudden death.

In Western countries it represents the first cause of non-ischemic DCM and this is in relation to genetic predisposition and to regular heavy consumption of alcohol in the population.

Suspending alcohol consumption in the early stages of cardiomyopathy, unlike what happens in other Cardiomyopathies, can stop its progression or even reverse ventricular dysfunction to normalization.

In Italy, a well-known and worrying phenomenon consisting of alcohol abuse between meals, among young people from the age of 12 onwards, can be responsible for addiction, liver toxicity, ethylic coma, injuries, road accidents and also development and / or worsening of Cardiomyopathy.

Patients with cardiomyopathy should not drink alcoholic beverages.


Alcohol consumption is measured in Alcohol Units.

XNUMX Alcohol Unit is equivalent to  XNUMX grams ethanol, contained for example in:

  • 1 small glass (125 ml) of wine at 12°
  • 1 bottle or 330 ml can of 5° beer
  • 1 small glass (40ml) of spirits (e.g. vodka, grappa or whiskey).

For a healthy adult, the recommended daily alcohol intake in alcoholic units are:

    • 2 for men under the age of 65
    • 1 for women and for men  age over the age of 65