Background: The relationship of alcohol consumption with risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) is inconsistent in previous studies, and its relationship with prognosis of AF is undetermined.
Methods: As part of the Cardiovascular Health Study, a population-based cohort of adults 65 years and older from 4 US communities, 5609 participants reported their use of beer, wine, and spirits yearly. We identified cases of AF with routine study electrocardiograms and validated discharge diagnoses from hospitalizations.
Results: A total of 1232 cases of AF were documented during a mean of 9.1 years of follow-up. Compared with long-term abstainers, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios were 1.25 (95% CI, 1.02-1.54) among former drinkers, 1.09 (95% CI, 0.94-1.28) among consumers of less than 1 drink per week, 1.00 (95% CI, 0.84-1.19) among consumers of 1 to 6 drinks per week, 1.06 (95% CI, 0.82-1.37) among consumers of 7 to 13 drinks per week, and 1.09 (95% CI, 0.88-1.37) among consumers of 14 or more drinks per week (P trend = 0.64). In analyses of mortality among participants with AF, the hazard ratios were 1.27 (95% CI, 1.06-1.52) among former drinkers, 0.94 (95% CI, 0.76-1.18) among consumers of less than 1 drink per week, 0.98 (95% CI, 0.78-1.23) among consumers of 1 to 6 drinks per week, 0.73 (95% CI, 0.51-1.03) among consumers of 7 to 13 drinks per week, and 0.81 (95% CI, 0.59-1.11) among consumers of 14 or more drinks per week (P trend = 0.12).
Conclusions: Current moderate alcohol consumption is not associated with risk of AF or with risk of death after diagnosis of AF, but former drinking identifies individuals at higher risk.