Alcohol consumption and risk of atrial fibrillation: a meta-analysis

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011 Jan 25;57(4):427-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2010.08.641.


Objectives: The purpose of this meta-analysis is to summarize the estimated risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) related to alcohol consumption.

Background: Results from observational studies examining the relationship between alcohol consumption and AF are inconsistent.

Methods: A systematic electronic search of Medline (January 1966 to December 2009) and Embase (January 1974 to December 2009) databases was conducted for studies using key words related to alcohol and AF. Studies were included if data on effect measures for AF associated with habitual alcohol intake were reported or could be calculated. The effect measures for AF for the highest versus lowest alcohol intake in individual studies were pooled with a variance-based method. Linear and spline regression analyses were conducted to quantify the relationship between alcohol intake and AF risk.

Results: Fourteen eligible studies were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled estimate of AF for the highest versus the lowest alcohol intake was 1.51 (95% confidence interval: 1.31 to 1.74). A linear regression model showed that the pooled estimate for an increment of 10 g per day alcohol intake was 1.08 (95% confidence interval: 1.05 to 1.10; R(2) = 0.43, p < 0.001). A spline regression model also indicated that the AF risk increased with increasing levels of alcohol consumption.

Conclusions: Results of this meta-analysis suggest that not consuming alcohol is most favorable in terms of AF risk reduction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Analysis