The electrocardiograms of 1,000 chronic alcoholic patients were examined and analyzed. Evidence is presented that excessive consumption of alcohol, in the absence of organic heart disease, may produce changes in the electrocardiogram. The predominant abnormalities were sinus tachycardia and nonspecific T-wave changes. These abnormalities were present in the majority of the patients, provided that electrocardiograms were taken while the patients were still intoxicated. It is suggested that the changes are caused by two known effects of alcohol: stimulation of catecholamine secretion from the adrenal medulla and alteration of cell membrane permeability.
- Received February 8, 1971.
- Accepted May 25, 1971.
- © 1971 American Heart Association, Inc.