Associate Chief of Cardiology for the study Drs. Gregory Marcus said, “Our first study is the first to point to a mechanism through which lifestyle factors can increase the electrical characteristics of the heart to increase the likelihood of a arrhythmia.” University of California, San Francisco.
The research on atrial fibrillation was published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Clinical Electrophysiology, as it was a randomized, double-blind clinical study – considered the “gold standard” in research.
Marcus and his team diagnosed 100 heart patients with AFIB – the most common life-threatening heart-rhythm disorder – under anesthesia and then injected them with enough alcohol to reach their blood alcohol level of .08% – Limit in the United States above legal.
The change he noticed was staggering: alcohol appeared in a way to immediately affect the heart’s natural recovery period, which could trigger an atrial fibrillation event.
“The electrical changes we saw in the pulmonary veins … would both increase the likelihood that atrial fibrillation would occur immediately, and be maintained,” Marcus said.
Director of the Inherited Cardiac Atalia Clinic at Stanford University Medical Center, Drs. “This is the first human-exposure to the immediate effects of alcohol,” said Marco Perez, director of the Inherited Cardiac Aridemia Clinic of Stanford University Medical Center.
“This study, however, does not address the question of whether a liberal drink for the heart is ‘good or bad’, especially in the long-term,” Marcus said. “It only helps us understand the possible mechanisms behind the comments that people who drink have high rates of arrhythmia.”
A growing concern
AF is an irregular heartbeat often described by many victims as “quivering,” “quivering,” or “flip-flops” of the heart.
This can lead to blood clots, heart failure and other heart related complications.
“It can also increase the risk for heart attack, for dementia, for kidney disease. All of those things are likely long-term risks,” Marcus said.
“Age is one of the most important risk factors, so it is becoming more common as the population ages,” Marcus said.
The obesity epidemic is contributing to an increasing number, along with other risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, smoking and yes, drinking alcohol.
“There is a long history of evidence that alcohol can increase the risk for atrial fibrillation, contrary to the conclusion about the risks of coronary artery disease or heart attack,” Marcus said.
This, of course, flies in the face of what we have often been told in the past – drinking in moderation can actually help the heart.
“This is a critically important difference,” Marcus said. “Many people easily cope with various forms of heart disease in public – making the assumption that when someone refers to heart disease, they mean a heart attack or coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. Interruption of
“So it may very well be the case that alcohol – at least in moderation – can be healthy for some types of heart disease and harmful for other types of heart disease,” Marcus said.
- CNN Interactive: Do You Drink Too Much?
Is alcohol really good for the heart?
Some studies, however, have begun to question the benefits of any alcohol for the heart.
“There are studies actually reporting an advantage for moderate drinking, but these are not ‘randomized, controlled’ studies, and are likely to be confused with the fact that people who engage in mild to moderate drinking are other things.” (Eg exercise) that are good for the heart, “Perez said in an email.
“However, there are some genetic studies suggesting that minor alcohol use has a detrimental effect on clinical outcomes,” Perez said.
According to Bell, the “take-home message” from his study is that “people should not drink under the belief that it will reduce their risk of illness.”
“And those of us who choose to drink should reduce our intake if we want to prolong our lives and well-being,” Bell said.