Alcohol consumption and mortality in patients with cardiovascular disease: a meta-analysis

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010 Mar 30;55(13):1339-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2010.01.006.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to quantify the relation between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular and total mortality in patients with a history of cardiovascular events.

Background: Regular, moderate alcohol consumption by healthy people is associated with lower cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. No extensive meta-analysis is presently available on the possible association of alcohol consumption with secondary events in patients with cardiovascular disease.

Methods: Articles were retrieved through October 2009 by search in PubMed and EMBASE. Fifty-four publications were identified, but only 8 were selected for our analyses, including 16,351 patients with a history of cardiovascular disease. Secondary events were cardiovascular or all-cause mortality. All selected studies were prospective. Data were pooled with a weighted, least-squares regression analysis of second-order fractional polynomial models.

Results: The meta-analysis on cardiovascular mortality showed a J-shaped pooled curve with a significant maximal protection (average 22%) by alcohol at approximately 26 g/day. In the meta-analysis on mortality for any cause, J-shaped pooled curves were observed in the overall analysis (average maximal protection of 18% in the range of 5 to 10 g/day) and in all subgroups according to either the type of patients or the characteristics of the studies.

Conclusions: In patients with cardiovascular disease, light to moderate alcohol consumption (5 to 25 g/day) was significantly associated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Male
  • Publication Bias
  • Risk Reduction Behavior