23 february 2021

Alcohol consumption and risk of atrial fibrillation in asymptomatic healthy adults

BACKGROUND: Excessive alcohol consumption is related to atrial fibrillation (AF) development in the general population. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of alcohol consumption on new-onset AF development in asymptomatic healthy individuals. METHODS: Asymptomatic healthy adults (age <75 years; body mass index <30 kg/m(2)) undergoing routine health examinations from 2007 to 2015 were screened. Those with sinus rhythm and without any previously diagnosed medical or surgical illness were recruited for analysis. The primary outcome was new-onset AF. Secondary outcomes were a composite of non-AF cardiac events, including clinically significant tachy- or bradyarrhythmias, acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or cardiac death. RESULTS: Among 19,634 individuals (50% male; age 19-74 years), 199 cardiac events were recorded, including new-onset AF (n = 160), acute myocardial infarction (n = 30), and clinically significant tachy- or bradyarrhythmia (n =19), during mean follow-up of 7.0 +/- 2.8 years. The incidence of new-onset AF was higher in drinkers (hazard ratio [HR] 2.21; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.55-3.14; P <.001), whereas composite non-AF cardiac events were not correlated to alcohol. There was a dose-dependent increase in the risk of AF according to the amount of alcohol consumed, and the risk increased more abruptly in men than in women. The risk of AF was highest in frequent binge drinkers (HR 3.15; 95% CI 1.98-4.99; P <.001), compared to infrequent light drinkers. CONCLUSION: In the asymptomatic healthy population, drinking increases the risk of new-onset AF in a dose-dependent manner, regardless of sex. Frequent binge drinking should be avoided.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Cha M. J.; Oh G. C.; Lee H.; Park H. E.; Choi S. Y.; Oh S.
  • Issue

    volume 17
  • Published Date

    23 february 2021