Whilst high levels of alcohol consumption are known to be associated with atrial fibrillation (AF), it is unclear if any level of alcohol consumption can be recommended to prevent the onset of the condition. The aim of this review is to characterise the association between chronic alcohol intake and incident AF.
Methods and results
Electronic literature searches were undertaken using PubMed and Embase databases up to 1 February 2016 to identify studies examining the impact of alcohol on the risk of incident AF. Prospective studies reporting on at least three levels of alcohol intake and published in English were eligible for inclusion. Studies of a retrospective or case control design were excluded. The primary study outcome was development of incident AF. Consistent with previous studies, high levels of alcohol intake were associated with an increased incident AF risk (HR 1.34, 95% CI 1.20–1.49, p < 0.001). Moderate levels of alcohol intake were associated with a heightened AF risk in males (HR 1.26, 95% CI 1.04–1.54, p = 0.02) but not females (HR 1.03, 95% CI 0.86–1.25, p = 0.74). Low alcohol intake, of up to 1 standard drink (SD) per day, was not associated with AF development (HR 0.95, 95% CI 0.85–1.06, p = 0.37).
Low levels of alcohol intake are not associated with the development of AF. Gender differences exist in the association between moderate alcohol intake and AF with males demonstrating greater increases in risk, whilst high alcohol intake is associated with a heightened AF risk across both genders.
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Accepted: May 29, 2017
Received in revised form: May 24, 2017
Received: March 14, 2017
☆Previous Presentation: Presented at the Annual Scientific Sessions of the Heart Rhythm Society, San Francisco (May 2016) and published in abstract form in Heart Rhythm 2016;13:S353-S354
Crown Copyright © 2017 Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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- Comment on “Alcohol and incident atrial fibrillation—A systematic review and meta-analysis”International Journal of CardiologyVol. 257
- PreviewWe have read with interests a recently published meta-analysis by Gallagher C et al.  entitled “Alcohol and incident atrial fibrillation – A systematic review and meta-analysis”. This work contributes a novel knowledge to the area regarding the role of levels of alchol intake and risk of AF. However, there are some methodological issues which might be interests of readers.