Thursday, 03 May 2018 10:12

Does Moderate Drinking Increase the Risk of Atrial Fibrillation? The Norwegian HUNT (Nord-Trondelag Health) Study

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BACKGROUND: Compelling evidence suggests that excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of atrial fibrillation (AF), but the effect of light-moderate alcohol consumption is less certain. We investigated the association between alcohol consumption within recommended limits and AF risk in a light-drinking population. METHODS AND RESULTS: Among 47 002 participants with information on alcohol consumption in a population-based cohort study in Norway, conducted from October 2006 to June 2008, 1697 validated AF diagnoses were registered during the 8 years of follow-up. We used Cox proportional hazard models with fractional polynomials to analyze the association between alcohol intake and AF. Population attributable risk for drinking within the recommended limit (ie, at most 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men without risky drinking) compared with nondrinking was also calculated. The average alcohol intake was 3.8+/-4.8 g/d. The adjusted hazard ratio for AF was 1.38 (95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.80) when we compared participants consuming >7 drinks per week with abstainers. When we modeled the quantity of alcohol intake as a continuous variable, the risk increased in a curvilinear manner. It was higher with heavier alcohol intake, but there was virtually no association at <1 drink per day for women and <2 drinks per day for men in the absence of risky drinking. The population attributable risk among nonrisky drinkers was 0.07% (95% confidence interval, -0.01% to 0.13%). CONCLUSIONS: Although alcohol consumption was associated with a curvilinearly increasing risk of AF in general, the attributable risk of alcohol consumption within recommended limits among participants without binge or problem drinking was negligible in this population
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