06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Individual-level studies indicate the possibility of both protective and harmful effects of alcohol consumption on Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) mortality depending on the pattern of consumption. Population-level relationships could be in either direction and previous studies have found mixed results.

METHODS: Population-level relationships between IHD mortality rates and per capita consumption of alcoholic beverages, cirrhosis mortality rates, cigarettes, and sugar sweetened soda for the period from 1950 to 2002 are modeled using autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) and vector error correction methods.

RESULTS: In multivariate ARIMA models controlling for accumulated heavy drinking as represented by cirrhosis mortality, a protective effect of 4%/l was found for total alcohol consumption while cirrhosis mortality rates had significant positive effects on IHD rates. Beverage-specific models found no effect for wine, positive risks for spirits, and significant protective effects for beer. The protective effects for both total alcohol and beer were also found in vector error correction models. Significant positive effects of cigarette sales on IHD rates were also found in both types of models.

CONCLUSIONS: The complexity of alcohol's relationship with IHD is highlighted. Aspects of pattern represented by beverage-specific consumption and cirrhosis mortality indicate potential protective effects from moderate drinking and harmful effects from heavy drinking in accord with individual-level findings.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess whether young binge drinkers (BD) have impaired macrovascular and microvascular function and cardiovascular disease risk factors compared with age-matched alcohol abstainers (A).

BACKGROUND: Binge drinking rates are highest on college campuses and among those age 18 to 25 years; however, macrovascular and microvascular endothelial function in young adults with histories of repeated binge drinking (>/= 5 standard drinks in 2 h in men, >/= 4 standard drinks in 2 h in women) has not been investigated.

METHODS: Cardiovascular profiles, brachial artery endothelial-dependent flow-mediated dilation (FMD), and flow-independent nitroglycerin (NTG)-mediated dilation and vasoreactivity of resistance arteries (isolated from gluteal fat biopsies) were evaluated in A and BD.

RESULTS: Men and women (18 to 25 years of age; A, n = 17; BD, n = 19) were enrolled. In the BD group, past-month mean number of binge episodes was 6 +/- 1, and the mean duration of binge drinking behavior was 4 +/- 0.6 years. FMD and NTG-mediated dilation were significantly lower in the BD group (FMD: 8.4 +/- 0.7%, p = 0.022; NTG-mediated dilation: 19.6 +/- 2%, p = 0.009) than in the A group (FMD: 11 +/- 0.7%; NTG-mediated dilation: 28.6 +/- 2%). Acetylcholine-induced and sodium nitroprusside-induced dilation in resistance arteries was not significantly different between the A and BD groups. However, endothelin-1-induced constriction was significantly enhanced in the BD group compared with the A group (p = 0.032). No differences between groups were found in blood pressure, lipoproteins, and C-reactive protein.

CONCLUSIONS: Alterations in the macrocirculation and microcirculation may represent early clinical manifestations of cardiovascular risk in otherwise healthy young BD. This study has important clinical implications for screening young adults for a repeated history of binge drinking.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVES: This study examined the association between alcohol use, the occurrence of cardiovascular events, and plaque phenotype in patients after femoral or carotid endarterectomy for arterial occlusive disease. Alcohol has been shown to have cardiovascular protective effects in patients with cardiovascular disease as well as in healthy individuals. Whether alcohol consumption induces changes in atherosclerotic plaque composition has not been investigated.

METHODS: Consecutive femoral (n = 224) and carotid (n = 693) endarterectomy specimens underwent histologic examination for the presence of collagen, calcifications, smooth muscle cells, macrophages, fat, and intraplaque thrombus. Patients were monitored for 3 years after the initial operation and investigated for the occurrence of cardiovascular events. Primary outcome was the composite end point "major cardiovascular event." Alcohol consumption was categorized as no alcohol use, 1 to 10 U/wk, or >10 U/wk.

RESULTS: The Kaplan-Meier estimate of the major cardiovascular event rate after 3 years of follow-up in the femoral group was 35% for no alcohol use and 21% for 1 to 10 U/wk, whereas only 10% of the group >10 U/wk sustained a major cardiovascular event (P = .010). The plaques of alcohol consumers in the femoral group contained significantly smaller lipid cores and less macrophage infiltration than in abstainers. In the carotid group, the major cardiovascular event rate was similar in all three groups, and in addition, no difference in plaque composition was observed.

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows an inverse relationship between alcohol use and major cardiovascular events after endarterectomy for lower extremity arterial occlusive disease, accompanied by a more stable plaque phenotype. However, no such relationship could be observed for patients with cerebrovascular disease.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

A large number of investigations in experimental, clinical, and epidemiological settings have given support to the idea that consumption of moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages, particularly wine, protects against coronary heart disease (CHD). Biological effects of other components of wine in human beings, however, have been hardly demonstrated, and alcohol itself has several potential adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. Not all epidemiological surveys have found protection from alcoholic beverages and in African-Americans, alcohol consumption was a risk factor for the incidence of CHD. The possibility that the lower risk of drinkers of moderate amounts of wine or other beverages is secondary to a health cohort effect in whites is not negligible, and could be discarded only in a clinical trial. In view of the potential risks of alcohol, a more cautious view about the beneficial effects of alcoholic beverages is warranted.

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