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Eur Respir J. 2012 Jan;39(1):149-55. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00000611. Epub 2011 Jun 9.

Alcohol drinking and risk of subsequent hospitalisation with pneumonia.

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Dept of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Sdr. Skovvej 15, DK-9000 Aalborg, Denmark.


The dose-response relationship between alcohol consumption and pneumonia risk in healthy individuals is poorly understood. We examined 22,485 males and 24,682 females from Denmark who were aged 50-64 yrs. Subjects were without major chronic diseases at baseline and had a median follow-up of 12 yrs for first-time hospitalisation with pneumonia. 1,091 (males) and 944 (females) had pneumonia-related hospitalisation. Among males, the risk of pneumonia was increased for alcohol abstainers and those who drank large weekly amounts. The adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for 0, 7-20, 21-34, 35-50 and >50 drinks·week(-1) were 1.49 (95% CI 1.00-2.21), 0.88 (95% CI 0.76-1.03), 0.87 (95% CI 0.72-1.05), 1.15 (95% CI 0.93-1.44) and 1.81 (95% CI 1.40-2.33), respectively, compared with 1-6 drinks·week(-1). The association between high alcohol intake and pneumonia persisted after controlling for subsequent chronic diseases. Among females, HRs for 0, 7-20, 21-35 and >35 drinks·week(-1) were 1.26 (95% CI 0.89-1.79), 1.01 (95% CI 0.88-1.17), 1.10 (95% CI 0.88-1.37) and 0.54 (95% CI 0.29-1.01), respectively. For the same moderate to high weekly alcohol amount, infrequent intake yielded higher pneumonia HRs than more regular intake in both sexes. Regular moderate alcohol intake is not associated with increased risk of hospitalisation for pneumonia. High weekly alcohol consumption in males and infrequent heavy drinking in both sexes may increase pneumonia risk.

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