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Herz. 1996 Aug;21(4):227-31.

Alcohol and rhythm disturbance: the holiday heart syndrome.

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  • 1Zentrum für Innere Medizin, Abteilung Kardiologie, Philipps-Universität Marburg.


The association between alcohol use and rhythm disturbances, particularly supraventricular tachyarrhythmias in apparently healthy people is called "holiday heart syndrome". The syndrome was first described in persons with heavy alcohol consumption, who typically presented at weekends or after holidays, but it may also occur in patients who usually drink little or no alcohol. The most common rhythm disorder is atrial fibrillation, which usually converts to normal sinus rhythm within 24 hours. The incidence of the holiday heart syndrome depends on the drinking habits of the studied population. The holiday heart syndrome should be considered particularly as a diagnosis in patients without overt heart disease presenting with new onset atrial fibrillation. Though recurrences occur, the clinical course is benign and specific antiarrhythmic therapy is usually not warranted.

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