Up to 2 drinks per day not linked with higher risk of irregular heart beat for women

December 02, 2008

Women who have up to two alcoholic drinks per day do not appear to be at increased risk of atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat), but drinking more than that amount is associated with a higher risk, according to a study in the December 3 issue of JAMA.

Studies assessing the effects of regular alcohol consumption on the risk of atrial fibrillation have provided inconsistent results, with several studies finding significant associations between moderate to high amounts of alcohol intake and increased risks of atrial fibrillation among men, but not among women. However, these studies were not of adequate size to detect significant associations among women, according to background information in the article.

David Conen, M.D., M.P.H., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland, and colleagues analyzed data from a completed randomized controlled trial involving 34,715 women participating in the Women's Health Study, to assess the effects of regular alcohol consumption on the risk of atrial fibrillation. The participants were older than 45 years and had no atrial fibrillation at the start of the study and underwent follow-up from 1993 to October 2006. Alcohol consumption was assessed via questionnaires at the beginning of the trial and at 48 months of follow-up and was grouped into 4 categories: 0 drinks per day, greater than 0 and less than 1, 1 or more and less than 2, and 2 or more drinks per day. Atrial fibrillation was self-reported on the yearly questionnaires and subsequently confirmed by electrocardiogram and medical record review.

During a median (midpoint) follow-up of 12.4 years, there were 653 confirmed cases of new atrial fibrillation. Among women consuming no alcohol (n = 15,370), there were 294 events (1.9 percent); for women consuming more than 0 and less than 1 drink per day (n = 15,758), there were 284 events (1.8 percent); for 1 to 2 drinks per day (n = 2,228), there were 35 events (1.6 percent); and for women consuming 2 or more drinks per day (n = 1,359), there were 40 atrial fibrillation events (2.9 percent).

"In the present study, alcohol consumption of up to 2 drinks per day was not associated with an increased risk of incident atrial fibrillation among initially healthy, middle-aged women. In contrast, the small group of women who consumed 2 or more alcoholic beverages per day had a 1.6-fold greater risk for atrial fibrillation relative to nondrinking women. While this finding needs to be interpreted with some caution because of the small number of women in some subgroups, it supports a possible threshold effect in the relationship between alcohol consumption and risk of atrial fibrillation among women," the authors write.
-end-
(JAMA. 2008;300[21]:2489-2496. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Atrial Fibrillation Articles from Brightsurf:

Atrial fibrillation less deadly than it used to be, but still cause for concern: BU study
A first-of-its-kind study by researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) shows a decline in deaths related to atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) over the last 45 years.

Postoperative atrial fibrillation does not impact on overall survival after esophagectomy
Volume 11, Issue 25 of Oncotarget reported that Administration of landiolol hydrochloride was found to be associated with reduced incidence of atrial fibrillation after esophagectomy for esophageal cancer in our previous randomized controlled trial.

People with atrial fibrillation live longer with exercise
More than 100,000 Norwegians have atrial fibrillation. They should be actively exercising for their health.

Atrial fibrillation among overweight people is not due to fat
In a recently published study, researchers from Aarhus University document that the risk of atrial fibrillation is not linked to the amount of body fat, but instead to large muscle mass, or more precisely, a high fat-free weight

Eating more protein could help ward off atrial fibrillation in women
Women who ate slightly more than the recommended daily amount of protein were significantly less likely to develop atrial fibrillation (AFib), a dangerous heart rhythm disorder that can lead to stroke and heart failure, when compared with those who consumed less protein, according to research being presented at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session Together with World Congress of Cardiology (ACC.20/WCC).

Zebrafish teach researchers more about atrial fibrillation
Genetic research in zebrafish at the University of Copenhagen has surprised the researchers behind the study.

Personalized medicine for atrial fibrillation
The study, published in Europace, uses signals from implantable devices -- pacemakers and defibrillators -- to analyze electrical signals in the heart during episodes of atrial fibrillation.

Prescribing anticoagulants in the ED for atrial fibrillation increases long-term use by 30%
Patients prescribed anticoagulants after a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation in the emergency department are more likely to continue long-term use of medications to treat the condition, according to research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Anticoagulant benefits for atrial fibrillation decrease with age
The net clinical benefit of anticoagulants for atrial fibrillation (AF) -- one of the most important causes of irregular heartbeats and a leading cause of stroke -- decreases with age, as the risk of death from other factors diminishes their benefit in older patients, according to a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco.

Research improves understanding of mechanism of atrial fibrillation
Mouse model studies show that noncoding DNA regions linked to atrial fibrillation risk can display long-range regulatory functions directed at Pitx2 gene and in this way predispose to the condition.

Read More: Atrial Fibrillation News and Atrial Fibrillation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.