Acute effects of low doses of alcohol on left ventricular function by echocardiography.
The ultrasound method for measuring the dimensions of the left ventricle was utilized to study the effect of oral doses of alcohol on left ventricular function in normal volunteers. Systolic time intervals were also measured. Seven subjects received 0.7 g/kg of ethanol (group I) and six subjects recieved 1.15 g/kg (group II). The peak of blood alcohol levels in the two groups were 75 mg/100 ml and 138 mg/100 ml respectively. There was a 6% decrease in the fractional change in the minor axis of the left ventricle in group I patients which resulted in a decrease in ejection fraction (p greater than 0.05). In group II patients, there was a 3% decrease in the fractional change in the minor axis of the left ventricle, but the change of ejection fraction was not significant. Since there was no significant difference between the physiological effects observed in groups I and II, the two groups were combined. In the combined group, at 30 minutes after the ingestion of alchol, the heart rate was increased by 11%, the fractional change in the minor axis of the left ventricle decreased by 6%, the ejection fraction decreased by 4% (p greater than 0.01) and Vcf decreased by 5%. These data suggest that in normal subjects myocardial contractility is depressed following the ingestion of alcohol.
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