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Am J Cardiol. 1999 Oct 1;84(7):802-6.

Alcohol consumption, coronary calcium, and coronary heart disease events.

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Department of Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California 90502-2064, USA.


This study was performed to determine if alcohol intake was associated with reduced coronary risk in a high-risk asymptomatic population, and whether this effect was independent of coronary risk factors and coronary calcium. In 1,196 asymptomatic subjects with coronary risk factors, we assessed alcohol consumption history, performed risk factor measurements, and quantified coronary calcium with electron beam computed tomography. These subjects were then followed for a mean of 41 months, and coronary events (myocardial infarction or coronary death) were noted. Significant inverse predictors of coronary events included alcohol use and serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level. Direct predictors of events were history of systemic hypertension, smoking, diabetes mellitus, serum cholesterol, and coronary calcium score. Subjects with coronary calcium were 3.1 times more likely to suffer a coronary event than those without calcium (95% confidence interval [CI] limits 1.3 to 7.2). Subjects who drank alcohol had a relative risk of 0.3 (95% CI limits 0.2 to 0.6) for developing coronary events. After controlling for age, gender, and other risk factors with logistic regression, these differences in relative risk persisted (relative risk 0.58; 95% CI limits 0.41 to 0.82). Alcohol consumption is a significant inverse predictor of coronary events, comparable in magnitude to standard risk factors and to radiographically measured coronary calcium. This effect is independent of coronary risk factors and coronary calcium.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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