For patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), low-to-moderate alcohol intake is not associated with an increased risk for stroke or other cardiovascular events, according to a study published online Jan. 25 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.
Philipp Reddiess, M.D., from the Cardiovascular Research Institute Basel in Switzerland, and colleagues examined the association between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular events in patients with established AF. Data were combined from two comparable prospective cohort studies that followed 3,852 AF patients (mean age, 71 ± 10 years) for a median of three years. Patients were grouped according to daily alcohol intake.
The researchers identified 136 confirmed strokes or systemic emboli. Adjusted hazard ratios for the primary outcome event (composite of stroke and systemic embolism) were 0.87 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.55 to 1.37) for >0 to <1 drink/day; 0.70 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.39 to 1.25) for 1 to <2 drinks/day; and 0.96 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.56 to 1.67) for ≥2 drinks/day (P for linear trend, 0.71) compared with nondrinkers. No significant association was observed between alcohol consumption and bleeding, while a nonlinear association was seen with heart failure (P for quadratic trend, 0.01) and myocardial infarction (P for quadratic trend, 0.007).
“Our findings do not support special recommendations for patients with AF with respect to alcohol consumption,” the authors write.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, some of which provided funding for the study.