Skipping Alcohol is Good for a Heart that Skips Beats

"Even light drinking could contribute to atrial fibrillation, a fluttery heartbeat with potentially grave consequences.

Swearing off alcohol in the new year can be a way to recover from holiday indulgence. But for people who suffer from a common and risky type of heart problem, giving up booze might be a life-saving resolution.

Scientists know that drinking alcohol is linked with a condition called atrial fibrillation, an irregular, rapid heartbeat that is a leading cause of stroke. To investigate how skipping alcohol affects the condition, Peter Kistler at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, and his colleagues recruited 140 people who regularly consumed more than 10 drinks per week and had experienced sporadic episodes of atrial fibrillation. The team asked half the participants to quit drinking.

After 6 months, atrial fibrillation recurred in 73% of participants who didn’t cut back on alcohol, but in only 53% of those who did. The risk of recurrent atrial fibrillation was higher among individuals who had one to nine drinks per week than among those who went dry, which suggests that even light-to-moderate consumption of alcohol might contribute to atrial fibrillation, the researchers say."

Quote from Nature Briefing January 07, 2020


Voskoboinik, A., Kalman, J. M., De Silva, A., Nicholls, T., Costello, B., Nanayakkara, S., ... & Wong, G. (2020). Alcohol Abstinence in Drinkers with Atrial Fibrillation. New England Journal of Medicine, 382(1), 20-28.
Publication Date
Research Language