Even moderate alcohol consumption, defined as intake of two drinks daily could raise the risk of irregular heart rhythm condition, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in the journal HeartRhythm.
The team from the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, found that regular moderate alcohol consumption (an average of 14 glasses per week) results in more electrical evidence of scarring and impairment in electrical signaling compared with non-drinkers and light drinkers.
‘Drinking moderate alcohol on a regular basis leads to more scarring and impairment in electrical signaling of heart when compared with non-drinkers and light drinkers.
Alcohol consumption is, therefore, an important modifiable risk factor for atrial fibrillation an abnormal heart rhythm characterized by a rapid and irregular beating of atria upper chamber of the heart, the researchers said.
“Regular moderate alcohol consumption, but not mild consumption, is an important modifiable risk factor for atrial fibrillation associated with lower atrial voltage and conduction slowing,” said lead investigator Peter Kistler, Professor from the Heart Centre at Alfred Hospital.
“These electrical and structural changes may explain the propensity to atrial fibrillation in regular drinkers. It is an important reminder for clinicians who are caring for such patients to ask about alcohol consumption and provide appropriate counseling in those who over-indulge,” he added.
In the study, the team determined the impact of different degrees of alcohol consumption on atrial remodeling using high-density electroanatomic mapping.
They performed detailed invasive testing on the atria of 75 patients with atrial fibrillation, 25 in each of three categories: life-long non-drinkers, mild drinkers, and moderate drinkers.