Alcohol consumption and heart failure: a systematic review

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2008 Apr;10(2):117-20. doi: 10.1007/s11883-008-0017-z.


Heart failure (HF) remains a major public health issue. It is estimated that about 500,000 Americans per year are diagnosed with HF. Despite advanced medical and surgical treatments for HF, mortality after the onset of HF is still high, thereby underscoring the importance of primary prevention. Among modifiable lifestyle factors, alcohol consumption appears to play a role in the development of HF. Although excessive drinking has been known to lead to alcoholic cardiomyopathy and light-to-moderate drinking may confer some cardiovascular benefits, recent studies suggest it is not only the quantity, but also drinking patterns and genetic factors, that may influence the relation between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease. This article reviews current evidence on the association between alcohol consumption and HF.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking* / metabolism
  • Cardiomyopathy, Alcoholic / genetics
  • Cardiomyopathy, Alcoholic / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Ethanol / metabolism
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Ethanol