22 March 2022 In Cardiovascular System

The relationship between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease risk is complex. Low-to-moderate daily alcohol consumption (1-2 drinks/day) is associated with reduced risk, whereas greater amounts of alcohol consumption and a "binge" pattern of drinking are associated with increased cardiovascular risk and mortality. Arterial stiffness may help explain the complex relationship.

This integrated review summarizes data from studies examining the associations between alcohol consumption and pulse wave velocity, a gold standard measure of arterial stiffness. We also briefly review the concept and methodology of pulse wave velocity measurement as well as the mechanisms of alcohol-induced arterial stiffening.

Findings among the different studies reviewed were inconsistent with methodological challenges related to alcohol use assessment. While making specific conclusions regarding this relationship is tenuous; the data suggest that excessive alcohol consumption or a binge drinking pattern is associated with increased arterial stiffness.

22 March 2022 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption is a known modifiable risk factor for atrial fibrillation. The association, however, might differ according to gender. We investigated gender-specific associations between alcohol consumption and incident atrial fibrillation in an elderly Chinese population.

METHODS: Our study participants were elderly residents (>/= 65 years) recruited from five community health centers in the urban area of Shanghai (n = 6,618). Alcohol intake was classified as never drinkers and current light-to-moderate (< 40 g/day) and heavy drinkers (>/= 40 g/day). Atrial fibrillation was detected by a 30-s single-lead electrocardiography (ECG, AliveCor((R)) Heart Monitor) and further evaluated with a regular 12-lead ECG.

RESULTS: During a median of 2.1 years (interquartile range: 2.0-2.2) follow-up, the incidence rate of atrial fibrillation was 1.10% in all study participants. It was slightly but non-significantly higher in men (n = 2849) than women (n = 3769, 1.30% vs. 0.96%, P = 0.19) and in current drinkers (n = 793) than never drinkers (n = 5825, 1.64% vs. 1.03%,P = 0.12). In both unadjusted and adjusted analyses, there was interaction between sex and current alcohol intake in relation to the incidence of atrial fibrillation (P < 0.0001). After adjustment for confounding factors, current drinkers had a significantly higher incidence rate of atrial fibrillation than never drinkers in women (12.96% [7/54] vs. 0.78% [29/3715], adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 10.25, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.54-29.67,P < 0.0001), but not in men (0.81% [6/739] vs. 1.47% [31/2110], OR = 0.62, 95% CI: 0.25-1.51,P = 0.29).

CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed a significant association between alcohol intake and the incidence of atrial fibrillation in elderly Chinese women, but not men.

23 February 2022 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Previous observational studies presented a positive association between alcohol and atrial fibrillation (AF). However, previous studies using genetic polymorphisms on the causal relationship between alcohol consumption and AF have reported conflicting results. This study aimed to evaluate the causality between alcohol consumption and AF using the aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) rs671 polymorphism, which is the genetic variant with the most potent effect on drinking behavior.

METHODS: A total of 8,964 participants from the Dong-gu Study were included in the present study. The causal association between alcohol consumption and AF was evaluated through a Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis using the ALDH2 rs671 polymorphism as an instrumental variable.

RESULTS: No significant relationship between alcohol consumption and AF was found in the observational analysis. However, the genetic analysis using the ALDH2 polymorphism showed a significant association in men. In the MR analysis, genetically predicted daily alcohol consumption was positively related to AF.

CONCLUSIONS: MR analysis revealed a significant association between the amount of alcohol consumption and AF, which suggests that the association may be causal.

23 February 2022 In Cardiovascular System

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: A clear link between excessive alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been established, but no consensus exists on the effects of moderate alcohol consumption on CVD.

RECENT FINDINGS: A lower risk of coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction among moderate drinkers compared to abstainers has been consistently observed in epidemiological studies and meta-analyses of these studies. However, ambiguity remains on the effect of alcohol on other CVDs and all-cause mortality. Short-term randomized controlled trials (RCT) have identified potentially beneficial effects of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular risk factors, but studies investigating genetic polymorphisms that influence alcohol consumption (i.e., Mendelian randomization) have yielded inconclusive results.

To date, a long-term RCT providing causal evidence is lacking but urgently needed. Triangulation of evidence from different study designs, including long-term RCTs, pragmatic trials and the evaluation of policy measures, combined will lead to the best available evidence.

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