22 March 2022 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Population-based studies generally show J-shaped associations between alcohol intake and mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Little is known about alcohol and long-term mortality risk after myocardial infarction (MI).

OBJECTIVES: We examined alcohol intake in relation to all-cause, CVD, and ischemic heart disease (IHD) mortality in Dutch post-MI patients of the Alpha Omega Cohort.

METHODS: The analysis comprised 4365 patients (60-80 years; 79% male) with an MI 0 to 2 g/d; n = 385), light (M: >2 to 10 g/d; F: >2 to 5 g/d; n = 1125), moderate (M: >10 to 30 g/d; F: >5 to 15 g/d; n = 1207), or heavy drinkers (M: >30 g/d; F: >15 g/d; n = 692). HRs of mortality for alcohol intake were obtained from Cox models, adjusting for age, sex, education, smoking, BMI, physical activity, and dietary factors.

RESULTS: Alcohol was consumed by 83% of males and 61% of females. During approximately 12 years of follow-up, 2035 deaths occurred, of which 903 were from CVD and 558 were from IHD. Compared to the (combined) reference group of nondrinkers and very light drinkers, HRs for all-cause mortality were 0.87 (95% CI, 0.78-0.98), 0.85 (95% CI, 0.75-0.96), and 0.91 (95% CI, 0.79-1.04) for light, moderate, and heavy drinkers, respectively. For CVD mortality, corresponding HRs were 0.80 (95% CI, 0.67-0.96), 0.82 (95% CI, 0.69-0.98), and 0.87 (95% CI, 0.70-1.08) for light, moderate, and heavy drinkers, respectively. Findings for IHD mortality were similar. HRs did not materially change when nondrinkers or very light drinkers were taken as the reference, or after exclusion of former drinkers or patients with diabetes or poor/moderate self-rated health.

CONCLUSIONS: Light and moderate alcohol intakes were inversely associated with mortality risk in stable post-MI patients. These observational findings should be cautiously interpreted in light of the total evidence on alcohol and health. The Alpha Omega Cohort is registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03192410.

22 March 2022 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Arterial stiffness as assessed by Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV) represents an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease. Several dietary compounds and lifestyle factors could influence arterial stiffness. The debate on the significance of the correlation between alcohol consumption and arterial stiffness is still open, given that the relationship is complex and potentially affected by several factors such as alcohol type, consumption levels, gender and age differences.

OBJECTIVE: This systematic literature review aims to examine the evidence supporting an association between alcohol use and PWV, in electronic databases including PubMed/MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library, from January 2010 to November 2020. Screening and full-text reviews were performed by three investigators and data extraction by two. Considering the significant heterogeneity of data only a qualitative analysis (systematic review) was performed.

RESULTS: A total of 13 studies met the inclusion criteria. Alcohol consumption was independently associated with arterial stiffness in a J-shaped way in most of the studies included. A benefit of alcohol consumption on arterial stiffness was found in four experimental studies, whilst an unfavorable increasing linear association was found in four others. Associations were confirmed with both oscillometric and tonometric PWV assessment methods. In some studies, a gender and age correlation was found with a more pronounced association in older males. In all studies elevated levels of alcohol consumption were associated with a worsening of arterial stiffness.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the variable findings across studies, the current review provides preliminary evidence that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption is associated with arterial stiffness values lower than expected, and evidence that high doses accelerate arterial ageing. These findings could be useful for clinicians who provide recommendations for patients at cardiovascular (CV) risk. Nevertheless, given the heterogeneity of study designs, interventions, measurement methods and statistical evaluations, the protective role of moderate alcohol consumption on arterial stiffness is likely but not certain, warranting additional trials and evidence.

22 March 2022 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Research into alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease (CVD) patients' prognosis has largely ignored the longitudinal dynamics in drinking behaviour. This study measured the association between alcohol consumption trajectories and mortality risk in CVD patients. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

SETTING: UK-based Whitehall II Study. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1306 participants with incident non-fatal CVD (coronary heart disease/stroke) events.

MEASUREMENTS: Up to eight repeated measures of alcohol intake were available for each patient from the most recent assessment phase pre-incident CVD and all subsequent phases post-incident CVD, spanning up to three decades. Six trajectory groups of alcohol consumption were identified using group-based trajectory modelling and related to the risk of all-cause mortality, adjusting for demographics and changes in life-style and health status.

FINDINGS: Three hundred and eighty deaths were recorded during a median follow-up of 5 years after patients' last alcohol assessment. Compared with patients who consistently drank moderately (</= 14 units/week), former drinkers had a greater risk of mortality (hazard ratio = 1.74, 95% confidence interval = 1.19-2.54) after adjustment for covariates. There was no significantly increased risk of mortality in long-term abstainers, reduced moderate drinkers, stable or unstable heavy drinkers. Cross-sectional analyses based only on drinking information at patients' last assessment found no significant differences in mortality risk for abstainers, former or heavy drinkers versus moderate drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: Cardiovascular disease patients who consistently drink </= 14 units/week appear to have a similar risk of mortality to those who are long-term abstainers, which does not support a protective effect of moderate drinking on total mortality. Cardiovascular disease patients who stop drinking appear to have increased mortality risk compared with continuous moderate drinkers, but this may be linked to poor self-rated health before cardiovascular disease onset.

22 March 2022 In Cardiovascular System

Alcohol consumption is a known, modifiable risk factor for incident atrial fibrillation (AF). However, it remains unclear whether the protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption-that has been reported for various cardiovascular diseases also applies to the risk for new-onset AF.

The purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the role of different drinking patterns (low: 168 grams/week) on the risk for incident AF. Major electronic databases were searched for observational cohorts examining the role of different drinking behaviors on the risk for incident AF. We analyzed 16 studies (13,044,007 patients). Incident AF rate was 2.3%. Moderate alcohol consumption significantly reduced the risk for new-onset AF when compared to both abstainers (logOR: -0.20; 95%CI: -0.28--0.12; I2: 96.71%) and heavy drinkers (logOR: -0.28; 95%CI: -0.37--0.18; I2: 95.18%). Heavy-drinking pattern compared to low also increased the risk for incident AF (logOR: 0.14; 95%CI: 0.01-0.2; I2: 98.13%).

Substantial heterogeneity was noted, with more homogeneous results documented in cohorts with follow-up shorter than five years. Our findings suggest a J-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and incident AF. Up to 14 drinks per week seem to decrease the risk for developing AF. Because of the substantial heterogeneity observed, no robust conclusion can be drawn.

In any case, our results suggest that the association between alcohol consumption and incident AF is far from being a straightforward dose-response effect.

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