25 January 2019 In Cardiovascular System

Light-to-moderate regular alcohol consumption has been associated with reduced mortality, heart failure, and sudden death, with a well described "U-shaped" relationship. We sought to determine whether markers of diffuse ventricular fibrosis as assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) T1 mapping differ between nondrinkers and regular drinkers. We prospectively recruited 165 participants to undergo 3T CMR ventricular T1 mapping which included 120 regular light-to-moderate drinkers (7 to 28 standard drinks per week for >12 months) and 45 age and gender-matched nondrinking controls (1 standard drink approximately 12 g alcohol). Diffuse ventricular fibrosis was assessed using ShMOLLI T1 mapping sequences performed in mid-short axis. Native T1, postcontrast T1 times and extracellular volume were compared in the left ventricle between regular drinkers and lifelong nondrinkers. In total 165 participants (mean age 59 +/- 12 years, 70% male, 36% hypertension, mean LVEF 58 +/- 11%) underwent CMR. Moderate alcohol intake (mean alcohol intake 16 +/- 6 SDs/week) was associated with lower markers of diffuse ventricular fibrosis: native T1 time 1140 +/- 47 vs 1173 +/- 39 ms, p < 0.001; postcontrast T1 time 470 +/- 47 vs 445 +/- 43 ms, p=0.01; extracellular volume 25.0 +/- 2.7% vs 27.0 +/- 2.8%, p=0.003 despite similar LV size (p=0.55) and mass compared with nondrinkers (p=0.78). Quantity of alcohol intake and beverage type did not predict lower native T1 times. In conclusion, light-to-moderate or "social" alcohol consumption is associated with T1 changes on CMR suggestive of a reduction in diffuse ventricular fibrosis. These preliminary findings may provide some insights into the association between modest alcohol intake and reduction in sudden death and heart failure.

25 January 2019 In Cardiovascular System

Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is associated with atherosclerotic complications. However, elevated CAC may not always imply a worse prognosis. Herein, we report the clinical evolution of long-term red wine (RW) drinkers in relation to CAC. We followed 200 healthy male habitual RW drinkers and compared them to 154 abstainers for a period of 5.5 years. The initial evaluation included coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA), clinical, demographics, and laboratory data. CAC was quantified by the Agatston score. The follow-up process was conducted by telephone calls and/or hospital record review. The composite end-point of total death, acute myocardial infarction (AMI), or coronary revascularization (or major adverse cardiac event - MACE) was assessed. The RW drinkers ingested 28.9+/-15 g of alcohol/day for 23.4+/-12.3 years. They had higher high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein, but lower C-reactive protein than abstainers. Age, total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and liver enzymes were similar. History of diabetes was lower among drinkers, but other risk factors were similar. However, drinkers had higher CAC than abstainers; the mean value was 131.5+/-362 in drinkers vs 40.5+/-320 in abstainers (P<0.001). The median and interquartile range were 15 (0.0-131.5) in RW drinkers and 1 (0.0-40.5) in abstainers (P=0.003). During the follow-up, MACE was significantly lower in drinkers than in abstainers, despite their higher CAC. The difference was driven mainly by AMI (0 vs 6; P<0.03). Greater CAC values in this setting did not predict worse prognosis. A possible underlying mechanism is lesion calcification, which leads to plaque stabilization and less clinical events.

05 December 2018 In General Health

The primary aim of this systematic review was to establish the prevalence, character, and risk factors of peripheral neuropathy amongst chronic alcohol abusers and to identify the most appropriate management strategies. In this review, possible pathogenetic mechanisms are also discussed. A systematic, computer-based search was conducted using the PubMed database. Data regarding the above parameters were extracted. 87 articles were included in this review, 29 case-control studies, 52 prospective/retrospective cohort studies and 2 randomised control trials, 1 cross sectional study, and 3 population-based studies. The prevalence of peripheral neuropathy amongst chronic alcohol abusers is 46.3% (CI 35.7- 57.3%) when confirmed via nerve conduction studies. Alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy generally presents as a progressive, predominantly sensory axonal length-dependent neuropathy. The most important risk factor for alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy is the total lifetime dose of ethanol, although other risk factors have been identified including genetic, male gender, and type of alcohol consumed. At present, it is unclear what the pathogenetic mechanisms for the development of neuropathy amongst those who chronically abuse alcohol are, and therefore, it is unknown whether it is attributed to the direct toxic effects of ethanol or another currently unidentified factor. There is presently sparse data to support a particular management strategy in alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy, but the limited data available appears to support the use of vitamin supplementation, particularly of B-vitamin regimens inclusive of thiamine.

29 October 2018 In Liver Disease

INTRODUCTION: It is unclear whether low levels of alcohol are harmful in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We aimed to determine whether quantity, binge pattern consumption, or type of alcohol was associated with liver fibrosis in patients with NAFLD.

METHODS: Previous and current alcohol consumption was assessed in NAFLD patients undergoing liver biopsy. All subjects currently consumed /=4 standard drinks (female) or >/=5 standard drinks (male) in one sitting. Liver biopsies were scored according to the NASH CRN system with F3/4 fibrosis defined as advanced.

RESULTS: Among 187 patients (24% with advanced fibrosis), the median weekly alcohol consumption was 20 (2.3-60) g over an average of 18 years. Modest consumption (1-70 g per week) was associated with lower mean fibrosis stage compared to lifetime abstainers (p < 0.05) and a decreased risk of advanced fibrosis (OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.14-0.78, p = 0.01). The association with reduced fibrosis was not seen in subjects drinking in a binge-type fashion. Exclusive wine drinkers but not exclusive beer drinkers, had lower mean fibrosis stage and lower odds of advanced fibrosis (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.06-0.69, p = 0.01), compared to lifetime abstinent subjects. No interaction between gender and alcohol quantity, type, or binge consumption on fibrosis was observed.

DISCUSSION: Modest (1-70 g per week) alcohol consumption, particularly wine in a non-binge pattern, is associated with lower fibrosis in patients with NAFLD. Prospective longitudinal studies into fibrosis progression, cardiovascular outcomes, and mortality are required before clinical recommendations can be made.

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