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PLoS One. 2017 Oct 18;12(10):e0185228. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185228. eCollection 2017.

Past alcohol consumption and incident atrial fibrillation: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.

Author information

1
Cardiac Electrophysiology Section, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, United States of America.
2
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States of America.
3
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, United States of America.
4
Department of Epidemiology, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, United States of America.
5
Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although current alcohol consumption is a risk factor for incident atrial fibrillation (AF), the more clinically relevant question may be whether alcohol cessation is associated with a reduced risk.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

We studied participants enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC) between 1987 and 1989 without prevalent AF. Past and current alcohol consumption were ascertained at baseline and at 3 subsequent visits. Incident AF was ascertained via study ECGs, hospital discharge ICD-9 codes, and death certificates. Of 15,222 participants, 2,886 (19.0%) were former drinkers. During a median follow-up of 19.7 years, there were 1,631 cases of incident AF, 370 occurring in former consumers. Former drinkers had a higher rate of AF compared to lifetime abstainers and current drinkers. After adjustment for potential confounders, every decade abstinent from alcohol was associated with an approximate 20% (95% CI 11-28%) lower rate of incident AF; every additional decade of past alcohol consumption was associated with a 13% (95% CI 3-25%) higher rate of AF; and every additional drink per day during former drinking was associated with a 4% (95% CI 0-8%) higher rate of AF.

CONCLUSIONS:

Among former drinkers, the number of years of drinking and the amount of alcohol consumed may each confer an increased risk of AF. Given that a longer duration of abstinence was associated with a decreased risk of AF, earlier modification of alcohol use may have a greater influence on AF prevention.

PMID:
29045461
PMCID:
PMC5646789
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0185228
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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