Beginning in the late summer and fall of 1965, physicians in Quebec were confronted by a series of patients with symptoms suggesting cardiac insufficiency.
These patients had two things in common: Most were residents of the same section of Quebec, and all were accustomed to drinking unusually large quantities of beer—some of them as much as seven quarts a day.
The attempt to find an explanation for this epidemiological idiosyncrasy, as well as to explain certain unusual, and perhaps unique, features of the underlying disease process has evolved into a major research effort by a host of investigators.
The first patient, a 39-year-old man whose clinical signs included cyanosis, dyspnea and tachycardia, was admitted to a hospital, Aug 24. The second patient, a 47-year-old taxicab driver with similar signs, was hospitalized Oct 20.
Three similar cases appeared in November. In December, there were seven. All were heavy beer drinkers; some