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Even moderate alcohol consumption may lead to atrial fibrillation

Even moderate alcohol consumption may lead to atrial fibrillation

Australia: Excessive consumption of alcohol is a known risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF). Now, a new study published in the journal HeartRhythm finds that even a regular moderate alcohol consumption an average of 14 glasses per week), but not mild consumption is an important modifiable risk factor for AF and results in more electrical evidence of scarring and impairments in electrical signaling.

Alcohol consumption is, therefore, an important modifiable risk factor for AF.

AF is an abnormal heart rhythm characterized by a rapid and irregular beating of the atria (the two upper chambers of the heart).

Peter Kistler, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues conducted the study 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.

Also Read: Even moderate level of Alcohol detrimental for HF patients with faulty Gene

Key Findings:

  • Moderate drinkers had significantly lower mean global bipolar voltages (1.53 ± 0.62 mV vs 1.89 ± 0.45 mV; P = .02), slower CV (33.5 ± 14.4 cm/s vs 41.7 ± 12.1 cm/s; P = .04), and a higher proportion of complex atrial potentials (7.8% ± 4.7% vs 4.5% ± 2.7%; P = .004) compared to nondrinkers.
  •  Global voltage and CV did not differ significantly in mild drinkers, but there was a significant increase in global complex potentials (6.6% ± 4.6%) and regional low-voltage zones (<0.5 mV) in the septum and lateral wall compared with nondrinkers.

Also Read: Moderate Drinking has survival benefit in Heart Failure : JAMA

“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,” concluded the authors.

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Source: With inputs from HeartRhythm

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