Association between alcohol consumption and systolic ventricular function: a population-based study

Am Heart J. 2014 Jun;167(6):861-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2014.02.014. Epub 2014 Apr 5.


Background: Although moderate alcohol consumption is associated with decreased clinical heart failure, there are no population-based studies evaluating the relationship between alcohol consumption and left ventricular (LV) systolic function. We sought to evaluate the relationship between alcohol consumption and LV systolic function in the community.

Methods: In a population-based random sample of 2,042 adults, age ≥45 years, we assessed alcohol consumption by a self-administered questionnaire. Responders were categorized by alcohol consumption level: abstainer, former drinker, light drinker (<1 drink a day), moderate drinker (1-2 drinks a day), and heavy drinker (>2 drinks a day). Systolic function was assessed by echocardiography.

Results: We identified 38 cases of systolic dysfunction in 182 abstainers, 309 former drinkers, 1,028 light drinkers, 251 moderate drinkers, and 146 heavy drinkers. A U-shaped relationship was observed between alcohol consumption and moderate systolic dysfunction (LV ejection fraction [LVEF] ≤40%), with the lowest prevalence in light drinkers (0.9%) compared to the highest prevalence in heavy drinkers (5.5%) (odds ratio 0.14, 95% CI 0.04-0.43). This association persisted across different strata of risk factors of systolic dysfunction as well as in multivariate analysis. No significant association between alcohol consumption and systolic function was seen in subjects with LVEF >50% or ≤50%.

Conclusions: There is a U-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption volume and LVEF, with the lowest risk of moderate LV dysfunction (LVEF ≤40%) observed in light drinkers (<1 drink a day). These findings are parallel to the relationship between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease prevalence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Abstinence / statistics & numerical data
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke Volume / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Systole / physiology
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnostic imaging
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / epidemiology*
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology*