Two types of genuine alcoholic cardiomyopathies can produce congestive heart failure, an acute fulminate hyperkinetic type with high cardiac output and a hypokinetic type with a low cardiac output, both of which respond to thiamine. When the chronic alcoholic develops a dilated cardiomyopathy with congestive heart failure without a history of significant malnutrition, then they do not respond to thiamine. This may be explained by a study in which mice given a myotropic virus plus alcohol developed more frequent and severe viral cardiomyopathies than those not fed alcohol. This suggests that a chronic dilated cardiomyopathy in an alcoholic may not be the direct result of the alcohol but secondary to a viral myocarditis. This suggests that the preferred terminology for a dilated cardiomyopathy in an alcoholic who does not respond to thiamine and good nutrition should simply be a dilated cardiomyopathy in an alcoholic. We should assume that the cardiomyopathy is possibly of viral etiology.