24 June 2019 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: In addition to its established harmful effects on the liver and other organs, heavy alcohol use confers deleterious effects on the cardiovascular (CV) system, as well. However, data have emerged that light/moderate alcohol consumption (1 drink/day for women and 1-2 drinks/day for men) may be protective against CV disease.

OBJECTIVE/METHODS: English articles regarding the CV effects of alcohol/ethanol were reviewed by search in Medline, Scopus, and Google Scholar.

RESULTS: A J-shaped curve has been proposed to illustrate a differential effect of alcohol on the CV system with the lowest point on the curve (light/moderate drinking) corresponding to optimal exposure to alcohol, which may confer cardioprotection, the rather neutral effect of non-drinking, and the highest risk of heavy and/or binge drinking reflecting the consequence of harmful exposure. However, staying at the nadir of this J-shaped curve appears difficult. Furthermore, concern and distrust have also been raised about the quality of evidence for such "cardioprotection", emphasizing the need for further randomized controlled trials. Another concern relates to the risk of moderate drinking leading to problem drinking, since alcohol is the most common addictive substance.

CONCLUSION: Optimal exposure to alcohol (light/moderate use) means that one needs to stay at the nadir of the J-shaped curve for alcohol use to avail oneself of possible cardioprotection, and this may not be an easy thing to accomplish and/or adhere to, especially if one "likes" alcohol drinking. However, the evidence of "cardioprotection" conferred by alcohol has also been refuted, due to lack of randomized controlled trials.

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.

27 September 2018 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Low/moderate alcohol consumption seems to be protective against cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study aimed to investigate the association of wine/beer consumption with the 10-year CVD incidence.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: During 2001-2002, 3042 CVD-free adults consented to participate in the ATTICA study; of them 2583 completed the 10-year follow-up (85% participation rate), but precise information about fatal/nonfatal CVD incidence (myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, cardiac ischemia, heart failure, chronic arrhythmias, and stroke) was available in 2020 participants (overall retention rate 66%). Alcohol/ethanol intake and the alcoholic beverages consumed were assessed; participants were categorized into three groups (no use; 1 glass/week).

RESULTS: Alcohol drinking was reported by 56% of the participants who did not develop a CVD event and 49% of those who had (p = 0.04); whereas ethanol intake was 14 +/- 16 g among those who did not had an event vs. 21 +/- 18 g among those who had a CVD event (p < 0.001). A strong inverse and similar association between low wine/beer intake (20 g/day had CVD-risk HRs (95% CI) of 0.60 (0.40-0.98), 1.22 (0.60-1.14), and 1.81 (0.70-4.61), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: This study revealed similar results of low wine/beer consumption against CVD incidence, mainly due to its implication on low-grade chronic inflammation.

27 July 2018 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Although epidemiological evidence for the beneficial effect of low alcohol consumption on myocardial infarction is strong, the impact of heavy drinking episodes is less clear.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate a possible association between the risk for acute myocardial infarction occurrence and alcohol consumption.

METHODS: Our hospital-based case-control study comprised 374 participants (187 newly diagnosed patients with myocardial infarction and 187 controls, individually matched by gender, age, and place of residence). This study was performed in Kragujevac (a city in Serbia) during 2010. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).

RESULTS: The history of alcohol consumption in patients with acute myocardial infarction and their controls did not differ significantly: the percentage of those that were consuming alcohol was slightly higher in cases (54.5%) than in controls (50.3%). The habit of binge drinking during the previous 12 months was significantly more common in cases (25.1%) than in controls (12.8%): adjusted OR = 2.2 (95%CI = 1.2-4.2, p = 0.017), p for trend = 0.015. Analysis of binge drinking by age, gender and place of residence revealed that the increase in risk for acute myocardial infarction was associated with older age (adjusted OR = 5.1, 95%CI = 1.7-15.1, p for trend = 0.010), male gender (adjusted OR = 2.3, 95%CI = 1.1-5.2, p for trend = 0.028) and rural place of residence (adjusted OR = 4.8, 95%CI = 1.3-18.5, p for trend = 0.033).

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that binge drinking is associated with twice the risk for myocardial infarction compared to not drinking. Since consumption of alcohol is very common in the Serbian population, the effect of binge drinking on myocardial infarction should be considered an important public health issue.

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