Purpose of review: To evaluate (1) the impact of acute and habitual alcohol consumption on atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial remodeling and (2) the role of alcohol reduction and/or abstinence in the primary and secondary prevention of AF.
Recent findings: Acute alcohol consumption appears to be a common AF trigger, with animal and human studies demonstrating changes in electrophysiological parameters, autonomic tone, and cellular properties expected to promote AF. Habitual consumption is associated with adverse atrial remodeling, higher risk of incident AF, and AF recurrence. Randomized data suggest that reduction in excessive alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of recurrent AF episodes and AF burden. Alcohol is an increasingly recognized risk factor for both new onset AF and discrete AF episodes. Excessive consumption should be avoided for primary and secondary prevention of AF.
Keywords: Alcohol; Atrial fibrillation; Binge drinking; Left atrium; Lifestyle; Remodeling.