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prognosis for congestive heart failure due to alcoholic cardiomyopathy
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prognosis for congestive heart failure due to alcoholic cardiomyopathy

My boyfriend is 35 years old.  He has been a very heavy drinker for over a decade with a few months here and there of sobriety. Last February he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure due to alcoholic cardiomyopathy, His ejection fraction was 20%. He remained sober for a few weeks after his diagnosis but eventually went back to drinking which escalated.  Last week he collapsed and had a seizure but would not initially let me take him to the hospital but quit drinking.  After a few more falls/seizures he began to hallucinate and shake.  I took him to the ER where he was admitted to the ICU for three days for DT.  Of course he understands the seriousness but he is so consumed by his drinking he refuses to go to inpatient treatment as he has attempted it unsuccessfully in the past.  His EF is now 10% and they have told him he WILL die if he drinks again.  He still smokes heavily and at this point I dont think he will make any lifestyle changes.  I am praying he can stay sober but with his history I dont know what to expect.  The dr wont give us any number for how much time he has.  From what I have read I know an EF of 10% is critical.  At this point he is pretty mobile, not noticeably short of breath and no edema.  He does take his medications regularly and as prescribed but if he stays sober what can I expect, will he make it 6 months or a year?  What is the longest life expectancy someone can expect with an EF of only 10%?
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You are in for a rough road ahead.  You might need family interventions: should that apply - and some of us alcoholics - have no will to live and just won't give up their best friend - right up to death.  And yet..............he probably won't be able to make decisions on his own - in a relatively short time and he should get his paperwork in order - and a Will and an Advance Directive and/or Power of Attorney for Health Care..........

Because - if the booze doesn't kill him - the cigarettes will probably kill him first!!!  Click on my name to learn more about me and go to my space page: - see this Blog Entry; "Dec 24, 2006 7:55 PM  What Is Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy? - to learn more about Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy.

In '08 - I was airlifted to a major hospital in Maine for Respiratory Failure and Pulmonary Edema - combined with Heart Failure because of smoking.

I quit smoking.  I am living longer because of it.

In '09 - I had a major gallbladder infection that caused me a week in the hospital.  Alcohol created the gallbladder problems.  I could not have the gallbladder removed - because my heart is too weak with an ejection fraction of 15% - which I've had since '03.  I cannot have any major surgeries - including open heart - because of my weak heart and I am testing at present for eligibility for a Heart Transplant.

I stopped drinking alcohol.  I am living longer because of it.


And there is no short answer - as to when I will die or your boyfriend.

You said: "His EF is now 10% and they have told him he WILL die if he drinks again.  He still smokes heavily and at this point I dont think he will make any lifestyle changes."

He will certainly die sooner than later.  The more frequently he has episodes of Heart Failure, Pulmonary Edema - the more frequent the visits to the ER - and the more stress on his heart because of this abuse................he is on the slippery slope - to death.


Tell us what medications he is on and how much he takes a day?

In addition to his heart meds - he should be on something like Ativan - as I am on - to assist with anxiety.  Then he will be able hopefully to start to make some calm decisions - about death.

Finally you asked: "What is the longest life expectancy someone can expect with an EF of only 10%? "

I have managed to stay alive since '03 with an EF of 10-15% - BCUZ of Medications, lifestyle changes, dietary changes and substance abuse changes.

And by the Grace of God...................................................................and I am not - at all - a religious person.

I happen to also be on SS Disability since '03 because of CHF.

Have him call me - if he would really like to be scared to death.

I've had an EF of 15-20% for 31/2 years, but not without trips to the ER for lifesaving treatments occassionally.  I'm still alive, though.

I'm old enough to know this.....If someone is bent on killing themselves, there is nothing anyone can do to change that.  

It sounds like your boyfriend is one of those people.  I know you must care about him, but he doesn't care about himself or he wouldn't be staying on his road to self-destruction.  Do you have any control over his actions?  No.  

In this situation, for yourself, I would take inventory of whether it's worth sticking around and having your heart torn out.  

I've seen it many times, and the outcome is always the same.  Knowing the outcome would cause me to move on and leave him to his own.  Life is too short to spend too much time trying to save someone who doesn't want to be saved.

I don't mean to be brash, but your life is worth something, right?  
how safe is an ef of 36.1. can ef improve maybe due to drugs and avoidance of alcohol
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