06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Moderate alcohol consumption may reduce cardiovascular events, but little is known about its effect on atrial fibrillation in people at high risk of such events. We examined the association between moderate alcohol consumption and the risk of incident atrial fibrillation among older adults with existing cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

METHODS: We analyzed data for 30 433 adults who participated in 2 large antihypertensive drug treatment trials and who had no atrial fibrillation at baseline. The patients were 55 years or older and had a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes with end-organ damage. We classified levels of alcohol consumption according to median cut-off values for low, moderate and high intake based on guidelines used in various countries, and we defined binge drinking as more than 5 drinks a day. The primary outcome measure was incident atrial fibrillation.

RESULTS: A total of 2093 patients had incident atrial fibrillation. The age- and sex-standardized incidence rate per 1000 person-years was 14.5 among those with a low level of alcohol consumption, 17.3 among those with a moderate level and 20.8 among those with a high level. Compared with participants who had a low level of consumption, those with higher levels had an increased risk of incident atrial fibrillation (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.14, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.04-1.26, for moderate consumption; 1.32, 95% CI 0.97-1.80, for high consumption). Results were similar after we excluded binge drinkers. Among those with moderate alcohol consumption, binge drinkers had an increased risk of atrial fibrillation compared with non-binge drinkers (adjusted HR 1.29, 95% CI 1.02-1.62).

INTERPRETATION: Moderate to high alcohol intake was associated with an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation among people aged 55 or older with cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Among moderate drinkers, the effect of binge drinking on the risk of atrial fibrillation was similar to that of habitual heavy drinking.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

Although alcohol drinking increases blood pressure and heavy drinking has been associated with alcoholic cardiomyopathy, little is known about the association between light to moderate drinking and risk of heart failure (HF) in hypertensive subjects. Thus, the association between light to moderate drinking and incident HF in 5,153 hypertensive male physicians who were free of stroke, myocardial infarction, or major cancers at baseline was prospectively examined. Alcohol consumption was self-reported and classified as <1, 1 to 4, 5 to 7, and >or=8 drinks/week. HF was ascertained using follow-up questionnaires and validated using Framingham criteria. Average age was 58 years, and about 70% of subjects consumed 1 to 7 drinks/week. A total of 478 incident HF cases occurred in this cohort during follow-up. Compared with subjects consuming or=8 drinks/week after adjustment for age, body mass index, smoking, randomization group, use of multivitamins, vegetable consumption, breakfast cereal, exercise, and history of atrial fibrillation, respectively (p for trend <0.001). Similar results were obtained for subjects with HF with and without antecedent myocardial infarction and those without diabetes mellitus. In conclusion, our data suggested that light to moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a lower risk of HF in hypertensive male physicians.

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