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Eur Heart J. 2015 Apr 14;36(15):939-45. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehu514. Epub 2015 Jan 19.

Alcohol consumption and risk of heart failure: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.

Author information

1
Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA University of Porto Medical School, Porto, Portugal.
2
Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
3
Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.
4
Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
5
Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
6
Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
7
Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA ssolomon@rics.bwh.harvard.edu.

Abstract

AIM:

Alcohol is a known cardiac toxin and heavy consumption can lead to heart failure (HF). However, the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and risk for HF, in either men or women, remains unclear.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

We examined 14 629 participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study (54 ± 6 years, 55% women) without prevalent HF at baseline (1987-89) who were followed for 24 ± 1 years. Self-reported alcohol consumption was assessed as the number of drinks/week (1 drink = 14 g of alcohol) at baseline, and updated cumulative average alcohol intake was calculated over 8.9 ± 0.3 years. Using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models, we examined the relation of alcohol intake with incident HF and assessed whether associations were modified by sex. Overall, most participants were abstainers (42%) or former drinkers (19%), with 25% reporting up to 7 drinks per week, 8% reporting ≥7 to 14 drinks per week, and 3% reporting ≥14-21 and ≥21 drinks per week, respectively. Incident HF occurred in 1271 men and 1237 women. Men consuming up to 7 drinks/week had reduced risk of HF relative to abstainers (hazard ratio, HR 0.80, 95% CI 0.68-0.94, P = 0.006); this effect was less robust in women (HR 0.84, 95% CI 0.71-1.00, P = 0.05). In the higher drinking categories, the risk of HF was not significantly different from abstainers, either in men or in women.

CONCLUSION:

In the community, alcohol consumption of up to 7 drinks/week at early-middle age is associated with lower risk for future HF, with a similar but less definite association in women than in men. These findings suggest that despite the dangers of heavy drinking, modest alcohol consumption in early-middle age may be associated with a lower risk for HF.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol consumption; Heart failure; Men, women, general population

PMID:
25602025
PMCID:
PMC4481602
DOI:
10.1093/eurheartj/ehu514
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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