15 December 2016 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Whether light-to-moderate alcohol consumption is protective against stroke, and whether any association differs by stroke type, is controversial. We conducted a meta-analysis to summarize the evidence from prospective studies on alcohol drinking and stroke types.

METHODS: Studies were identified by searching PubMed to September 1, 2016, and reference lists of retrieved articles. Additional data from 73,587 Swedish adults in two prospective studies were included. Study-specific results were combined in a random-effects model.

RESULTS: The meta-analysis included 27 prospective studies with data on ischemic stroke (25 studies), intracerebral hemorrhage (11 studies), and/or subarachnoid hemorrhage (11 studies). Light and moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke, whereas high and heavy drinking was associated with an increased risk; the overall RRs were 0.90 (95 % CI, 0.85-0.95) for less than 1 drink/day, 0.92 (95 % CI, 0.87-0.97) for 1-2 drinks/day, 1.08 (95 % CI, 1.01-1.15) for more than 2-4 drinks/day, and 1.14 (95 % CI, 1.02-1.28) for more than 4 drinks/day. Light and moderate alcohol drinking was not associated with any hemorrhagic stroke subtype. High alcohol consumption (>2-4 drinks/day) was associated with a non-significant increased risk of both hemorrhagic stroke subtypes, and the relative risk for heavy drinking (>4 drinks/day) were 1.67 (95 % CI, 1.25-2.23) for intracerebral hemorrhage and 1.82 (95 % CI, 1.18-2.82) for subarachnoid hemorrhage.

CONCLUSION: Light and moderate alcohol consumption was inversely associated only with ischemic stroke, whereas heavy drinking was associated with increased risk of all stroke types with a stronger association for hemorrhagic strokes.

15 December 2016 In Cardiovascular System

Alcohol is popular in Western culture, supported by a perception that modest intake is cardioprotective. However, excessive drinking has detrimental implications for cardiovascular disease. Atrial fibrillation (AF) following an alcohol binge or the "holiday heart syndrome" is well characterized. However, more modest levels of alcohol intake on a regular basis may also increase the risk of AF. The pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for the relationship between alcohol and AF may include direct toxicity and alcohol's contribution to obesity, sleep-disordered breathing, and hypertension. We aim to provide a comprehensive review of the epidemiology and pathophysiology by which alcohol may be responsible for AF and determine whether alcohol abstinence is required for patients with AF.

15 December 2016 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown that compared with abstinence and heavy drinking, moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of mortality among the general population and patients with heart failure and myocardial infarction. We examined the association between alcohol consumption and mortality in coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) patients.

METHOD: We studied 1,919 first-time CABG patients using data on alcohol consumption and mortality obtained from Danish national registers from March 2006 to October 2011. Alcohol consumption was divided into the following groups: abstainers (0 units/week), moderate consumers (1-14 units/week), moderate-heavy drinkers (15-21 units/week) and heavy drinkers (>21 units/week). Hazard ratios (HR) of all-cause mortality were calculated using Cox proportional hazard regression analysis.

RESULTS: The median follow-up was 2.2 years [IQR 2.0]. There were 112 deaths, of which 96 (86 %) were classified as cardiovascular. Adjustments for age and sex showed no increased risk of all-cause mortality for the abstainers (HR 1.61, 95 % CI, 1.00-2.58) and moderate-heavy drinkers (HR 1.40, 95 % CI, 0.73-2.67) compared with moderate consumers. However, heavy drinkers had a high risk of all-cause mortality compared with moderate consumers (HR 2.44, 95 % CI, 1.47-4.04). A full adjustment showed no increase in mortality for the abstainers (HR 1.59, 95 % CI, 0.98-2.57) and moderate-heavy drinkers (HR 1.68, 95 % CI, 0.86-3.29), while heavy drinkers were associated with an increased mortality rate (HR 1.88, 95 % CI, 1.10-3.21). There was no increased risk of 30-day mortality for the abstainers (HR 0.74, 95 % CI, 0.23-2.32), moderate-heavy drinkers (HR 0.36, 95 % CI, 0.07-1.93) and heavy drinkers (HR 2.20, 95 % CI, 0.65-7.36).

CONCLUSION: There was no increased risk of mortality for abstainers (0 units/week) or moderate-heavy drinkers (15-21 units/week) following a CABG. Only heavy drinking (>21 units/week) were significantly associated with an increased mortality rate. These results suggest that only heavy drinking present a risk factor among CABG patients.

15 December 2016 In Cardiovascular System

Study of the relationships of alcohol drinking and risk of stroke can readily become mired in the labyrinthine interactions of drinking categorizations, non-linear associations, disparate cardiovascular conditions, and the heterogeneous types of stroke. This Commentary discusses the recent article by Larsson et al. (BMC Medicine 14:178, 2016). The authors split their material into separate meta-analyses of subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage, and ischemic stroke, finding disparate alcohol-stroke relationships. Our Commentary pursues the disparity theme, using the lumpers versus splitters paradigm to explore several aspects of this complex area.Please see related article: http://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-016-0721-4.

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