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Acta Med Scand. 1987;221(4):335-41.

Alcohol consumption and sudden coronary death in middle-aged Finnish men.


The association between consumption of alcoholic beverages (spirits, beer and wine) and coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality, especially the incidence of sudden coronary death (SCD), was investigated in a 5-year prospective population study comprising 4,532 men aged 40-64 years. The amount of alcohol used was estimated on the basis of answers to a self-filled structured questionnaire. The incidence of SCD was statistically significantly lower among abstainers than among alcohol consumers. The relative risk of SCD of alcohol consumers in comparison with abstainers was largest in the oldest age group and it became more apparent after a follow-up of a couple of years. Only the consumption of spirits was positively associated with the incidence of SCD. Among non-smokers the incidence of SCD was statistically significantly higher in consumers than in abstainers, a similar but not significant trend was observed among current smokers. The positive association between alcohol consumption and incidence of SCD was detected both in CHD-free men and in men with prior CHD. Consumption of alcoholic beverages, and in particular of spirits, is associated with an increased risk of SCD in Finnish men.

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