One small alcoholic beverage a day is associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation

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Sincerely: European Heart Journal

A study of about 108,000 people found that people who drink small amounts of alcohol regularly are at increased risk of atrial fibrillation, a condition where the heart beats in an abnormal rhythm.

The study, published today (Wednesday) European Heart Journal [1], Found that, compared to drinking without any alcohol, only one alcoholic beverage a day was associated with a 16% increased risk of atrial fibrillation over a median (median) follow-up time of approximately 14 years. This means that while four teetotallers in 100 may develop atrial fibrillation over the study period, five per 100 conditions may develop if they consume alcohol that starts at little more than an alcoholic beverage a week And consume more than 75%. One drink a day [2]. The researchers classified an alcoholic beverage containing 12 grams of ethanol, which is equivalent to a small (120 ml) glass of wine, a small beer (330 ml), or 40 ml spirit.

It is well known that people who drink too much alcohol regularly have a risk of developing heart failure, and heart failure can increase the incidence of atrial fibrillation. Several studies have shown a slightly higher risk of heart problems for those who never drink alcohol; They often show that this risk is reduced for those who drink moderately moderate amounts of alcohol, and then rapidly consume alcohol, creating a ‘J’ shape on the graph. Until now, it has not been clear whether the same was the case for atrial fibrillation.

However, in the current study led by Professor Renate Schnebel, a Consultant Cardiologist at the University Heart and Vascular Center, Hamburg-Appdenorf (Germany), researchers found that although lower doses of alcohol were associated with a lower risk of heart failure than teetotalers . A similar ‘J’ risk reduction was not observed for atrial fibrillation. This suggests that the increased risk of atrial fibrillation in people drinking small amounts of alcohol did not begin with heart failure.

Pro. Schnebel said: “To our knowledge, this is the largest study on alcohol consumption and the long-term occurrence of atrial fibrillation in the community. Previous studies did not have sufficient power to investigate this question, although they have been able to show alcohol. Relationship between intake and other heart and blood vessel problems, such as heart attack and heart failure. In our study, we can now demonstrate that even very low regular alcohol intake may increase the risk of atrial fibrillation. .

“These findings are as important as regular consumption of alcohol, ‘one glass of wine a day’ to protect the heart, as is often recommended for example in the late press, perhaps now balancing risk and potential benefits.” Not to be suggested without all heart and blood vessel diseases, including atrial fibrillation. “

The researchers analyzed the information of 107,845 people participating in five community-based studies in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Italy. At the time he joined the study between 1982 and 2010, he attended medical examinations and provided information on his medical history, lifestyle (including alcohol and tobacco consumption), employment and education levels. A total of 100,092 participants did not have atrial fibrillation when they enrolled and their average age was around 48 years (range 24–97 years).

During a medieval follow-up period of approximately 14 years, 5,854 people developed atrial fibrillation. The relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of atrial fibrillation was similar for all types of alcoholic beverages and for men and women.

In addition to a 16% increased risk of atrial fibrillation compared to tetatollers seen in people consuming only one alcoholic beverage a day, the researchers found that the risk increased with increasing alcohol intake; Up to two drinks a day was associated with an increased risk of 28% and increased to 47% for those who consumed more than four.

The exact mechanism by which minor amounts of alcohol can trigger atrial fibrillation is not known. Studies have shown that drinking heavy alcohol for a short time can cause ‘Holiday Heart Syndrome’ in some people and in some atrial fibrillation patients, small amounts of alcohol can trigger arrhythmia episodes.

Limitations of the study include the fact that participants of the study reported the type and amount of alcohol they drank and may be under-reporting; The available information did not enable researchers to see the effects of binge drinking; Some episodes of atrial fibrillation may be asymptomatic and therefore may not be reported; Only adults across Europe were included in the analysis and therefore it may not be possible to generalize the results to other populations; As the study was observational, it can only show a relationship between alcohol intake and atrial fibrillation and not alcohol causing atrial fibrillation.

In editorial together [3], George A. Wong and David Coan, from the Institute of Population Health Research at MacMillster University, Hamilton, Canada, write that the research “significantly contributes to our understanding of the relationship between alcohol intake and incident AF, particularly alcoholism on the lower spectrum Consumption. A significant relationship between alcohol and AF was identified, and even small amounts of alcohol were associated with increased, smaller, incident AF exposure.

“With a recent randomized trial showing that decreased alcohol intake leads to decreased AF recurrence, these data suggest that reducing alcohol consumption may be important for both prevention and management of AF Significantly, any reduction in low-to-moderate. AF is required to balance alcohol consumption with a potentially beneficial association. Low amounts of alcohol may be in relation to other cardiovascular outcomes. The net clinical benefit of small amounts of alcohol intake requires further study, ideally in sufficiently well-conducted randomized trials. Until then, each individual must make his or her best educated decision. Consuming one alcoholic beverage per day is worthwhile and safe ”.



[1] “Alcohol consumption, cardiac biomarker and atrial fibrillation and the risk of adverse outcomes”, Dora Sesanger et al. European Heart Journal. doi: 10.1093 / eurheartj / ehaa953

[2] The research paper does not provide absolute risk figures. Researchers and Cambridge University of Risk and Evidence Communication RealRisk Web Tool: https: //url.Wintoncentre.Britain /p6lcb

[3] “Alcohol intake, atrial fibrillation, and heart disease: finding the right balance”, Georg A. By Wong and David Jen. European Heart Journal. doi: 10.1093 / eurheartj / ehaa955

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