BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Several studies have reported a significant inverse association of light to moderate alcohol consumption with coronary heart disease (CHD). However, studies assessing the relationship between alcohol consumption and atherosclerosis have reported inconsistent results. The current study was conducted to determine the relationship between alcohol consumption and aortic calcification.

METHODS: We addressed the research question using data from the population-based ERA-JUMP Study, comprising of 1006 healthy men aged 40-49 years, without clinical cardiovascular diseases, from four race/ethnicities: 301 Whites, 103 African American, 292 Japanese American, and 310 Japanese in Japan. Aortic calcification was assessed by electron-beam computed tomography and quantified using the Agatston method. Alcohol consumption was categorized into four groups: 0 (non-drinkers), 1 to 3 drinks per day (heavy drinkers) (1 drink = 12.5 g of ethanol). Tobit conditional regression and ordinal logistic regression were used to investigate the association of alcohol consumption with aortic calcification after adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors and potential confounders.

RESULTS: The study participants consisted of 25.6% nondrinkers, 35.3% light drinkers, 23.5% moderate drinkers, and 15.6% heavy drinkers. Heavy drinkers [Tobit ratio (95% CI) = 2.34 (1.10, 4.97); odds ratio (95% CI) = 1.67 (1.11, 2.52)] had significantly higher expected aortic calcification score compared to nondrinkers, after adjusting for socio-demographic and confounding variables. There was no significant interaction between alcohol consumption and race/ethnicity on aortic calcification.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that heavy alcohol consumption may be an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis.

Published in Cardiovascular System

We tested whether teetotalism explains the upturn in cardiovascular risk for non-drinkers and whether wine is a more favorable alcohol type. We studied 115,592 men and women aged 40-44 years who participated in the age 40 program in Norway in 1994-1999 and were followed for an average of 16 years with 550 cardiovascular deaths. Self-reported number of glasses of beer, wine and spirits during 14 days was transformed to alcohol units/day. One unit is approximately 8 grams of pure alcohol. The mean and median number of alcohol units/day were 0.70 and 0.46. Teetotallers had higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than alcohol consumers, multivariate adjusted hazard ratio (95% CI) 1.97 (1.52-2.56). The use of alcohol-related deaths as endpoint substantiated a selection of previous alcohol users to the teetotal group. Without teetotallers there was no association between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease mortality. However, the multivariate adjusted hazard ratio per one unit/day of wine was 0.76 (0.58-0.99). The corresponding figures for beer and spirits were 1.04 (0.94-1.15) and 0.98 (0.75-1.29). The upturn in risk for non-drinkers could be explained by a higher risk for teetotallers who likely included previous alcohol users or teetotalers who started to drink during follow-up. Wine gave the most favorable risk estimates.

Published in Cardiovascular System

There is no available abstract for this article.

Published in Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess the hypothesis that alcohol consumption is associated with onset of atrial fibrillation (AF) and/or heart failure (HF).

BACKGROUND: The connection between ethanol intake and AF or HF remains controversial.

METHODS: The study population was 22,824 AF- or HF-free subjects (48% men, age >/=35 years) randomly recruited from the general population included in the Moli-sani study, for whom complete data on HF, AF, and alcohol consumption were available. The cohort was followed up to December 31, 2015, for a median of 8.2 years (183,912 person-years). Incident cases were identified through linkage to the Molise regional archive of hospital discharges. Hazard ratios were calculated using Cox proportional hazard models and cubic spline regression.

RESULTS: A total of 943 incident cases of HF and 554 of AF were identified. In comparison with never drinkers, both former and occasional drinkers showed comparable risk for developing HF. Drinking alcohol in the range of 1 to 4 drinks/day was associated with a lower risk for HF, with a 22% maximum risk reduction at 20 g/day, independent of common confounders. In contrast, no association of alcohol consumption with onset of AF was observed. Very similar results were obtained after restriction of the analyses to regular or only wine drinkers or according to sex, age, social status, or adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of alcohol in moderation was associated with a lower incidence of HF but not with development of AF.

Published in Cardiovascular System
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