Nav: Home

How much is too much? Even moderate alcohol consumption is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation

January 10, 2019

Philadelphia, January 10, 2019 - Alcohol is ubiquitous in Western society, and rates of excessive use among adults remain high. Excessive alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF), but what are the effects of moderate and mild consumption on AF? In a new study published in HeartRhythm, the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society and the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society, Australian researchers showed that regular moderate alcohol consumption (an average of 14 glasses per week) results in more electrical evidence of scarring and impairments in electrical signaling compared with non-drinkers and light drinkers. Alcohol consumption is therefore an important modifiable risk factor for AF.

AF is an abnormal heart rhythm characterized by rapid and irregular beating of the atria (the two upper chambers of the heart). Observational studies suggest that even moderate regular alcohol consumption may increase the risk of AF. A meta-analysis of seven studies involving nearly 860,000 patients and approximately 12,500 individuals with AF demonstrated an eight percent increase in incident AF for each additional daily standard drink. Despite the association between regular alcohol intake and AF, however, detailed human electrophysiological studies describing the nature of alcohol-related atrial remodeling have been lacking.

The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of different degrees of alcohol consumption on atrial remodeling using high-density electroanatomic mapping. In this multi-center cross-sectional study in Australia, investigators performed detailed invasive testing on the atria of 75 patients with AF, 25 in each of three categories: lifelong non-drinkers, mild drinkers, and moderate drinkers. Patients self-reported their average alcohol consumption in standard drinks per week (one standard glass is around 12 grams of alcohol) over the preceding 12 months. Patients consuming two to seven drinks per week were considered mild drinkers, while those consuming eight to 21 drinks per week (average 14 drinks per week) were defined as moderate drinkers.

The investigators found that individuals who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol (average 14 drinks per week) had more electrical evidence of scarring and impairments in electrical signaling than non-drinkers and light drinkers.

"This study underscores the importance of excessive alcohol consumption as an important risk factor in AF," said lead investigator Professor Peter Kistler, MBBS, PhD, FHRS, from the Heart Centre, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. "Regular moderate alcohol consumption, but not mild consumption, is an important modifiable risk factor for AF associated with lower atrial voltage and conduction slowing. These electrical and structural changes may explain the propensity to AF in regular drinkers. It is an important reminder for clinicians who are caring for patients with AF to ask about alcohol consumption and provide appropriate counselling in those who over-indulge."
-end-


Elsevier

Related Atrial Fibrillation Articles:

Sleep apnea may increase atrial fibrillation risk
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AF), according to new research presented at the ATS 2017 International Conference.
New study identifies biomarker that may indicate risk of atrial fibrillation
Researchers have identified a microRNA biomarker that demonstrates a strong association with the incidence of atrial fibrillation, the most common abnormal heart rhythm.
More women with atrial fibrillation die after ER discharge than men
A new study from the University of Alberta adds to the growing evidence that women with cardiovascular disease may receive different health care from men -- and experience worse outcomes.
Big women have nearly threefold greater risk of atrial fibrillation
Big women have a nearly threefold greater risk of atrial fibrillation than small women, according to research presented today at EuroPrevent 2017.
Most atrial fibrillation patients don't get preventive drug before stroke
More than 80 percent of stroke patients with a history of atrial fibrillation either received not enough or no anticoagulation therapy prior to having a stroke, despite the drugs' proven record of reducing stroke risk, according to a Duke Clinical Research Institute study.
More than half of atrial fibrillation patients become asymptomatic after catheter ablation
More than half of patients with atrial fibrillation become asymptomatic after catheter ablation, reports the largest study of the procedure published today in European Heart Journal.
Medication adherence a problem in atrial fibrillation patients
Anticoagulant therapy is important for stroke prevention in people with atrial fibrillation, but a new study shows many people don't stick with it.
Atrial fibrillation patients are at increased risk of dementia, regardless of anticoagulation use
Atrial fibrillation patients who use the drug, warfarin, to prevent harmful blood clots from forming in their hearts to lower risk of stroke are at higher risk of developing dementia than patients who use warfarin for non-atrial fibrillation conditions, according to a new study from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.
iPhone camera application may detect atrial fibrillation
A smartphone application made it possible to use the iPhone camera to detect atrial fibrillation via facial signals and without physical contact, according to a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2016.
Study reports progress in preventing bleeding in atrial fibrillation
A new study led by clinician-researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center testing the safety and effectiveness of anticoagulant strategies for patients with atrial fibrillation who undergo stenting procedures has shown that therapies combining the anticoagulant drug rivaroxaban with either single or dual anti-platelet therapy were more effective in preventing bleeding complications than the current standard of care.

Related Atrial Fibrillation Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Don't Fear Math
Why do many of us hate, even fear math? Why are we convinced we're bad at it? This hour, TED speakers explore the myths we tell ourselves and how changing our approach can unlock the beauty of math. Guests include budgeting specialist Phylecia Jones, mathematician and educator Dan Finkel, math teacher Eddie Woo, educator Masha Gershman, and radio personality and eternal math nerd Adam Spencer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#517 Life in Plastic, Not Fantastic
Our modern lives run on plastic. It's in the computers and phones we use. It's in our clothing, it wraps our food. It surrounds us every day, and when we throw it out, it's devastating for the environment. This week we air a live show we recorded at the 2019 Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, D.C., where Bethany Brookshire sat down with three plastics researchers - Christina Simkanin, Chelsea Rochman, and Jennifer Provencher - and a live audience to discuss plastics in our oceans. Where they are, where they are going, and what they carry with them. Related links:...