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Alcohol consumption and risk of heart failure: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.

TitleAlcohol consumption and risk of heart failure: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsGonçalves A, Claggett B, Jhund PS, Rosamond WD, Deswal A, Aguilar D, Shah AM, Cheng S
Secondary AuthorsSolomon SD
JournalEur Heart J
Date Published2015 Apr 14
KeywordsAlcohol Abstinence, Alcohol Drinking, Coronary Artery Disease, Female, Heart Failure, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors, Sex Distribution, United States

AIM: Alcohol is a known cardiac toxin and heavy consumption can lead to heart failure (HF). However, the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and risk for HF, in either men or women, remains unclear.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We examined 14 629 participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study (54 ± 6 years, 55% women) without prevalent HF at baseline (1987-89) who were followed for 24 ± 1 years. Self-reported alcohol consumption was assessed as the number of drinks/week (1 drink = 14 g of alcohol) at baseline, and updated cumulative average alcohol intake was calculated over 8.9 ± 0.3 years. Using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models, we examined the relation of alcohol intake with incident HF and assessed whether associations were modified by sex. Overall, most participants were abstainers (42%) or former drinkers (19%), with 25% reporting up to 7 drinks per week, 8% reporting ≥7 to 14 drinks per week, and 3% reporting ≥14-21 and ≥21 drinks per week, respectively. Incident HF occurred in 1271 men and 1237 women. Men consuming up to 7 drinks/week had reduced risk of HF relative to abstainers (hazard ratio, HR 0.80, 95% CI 0.68-0.94, P = 0.006); this effect was less robust in women (HR 0.84, 95% CI 0.71-1.00, P = 0.05). In the higher drinking categories, the risk of HF was not significantly different from abstainers, either in men or in women.

CONCLUSION: In the community, alcohol consumption of up to 7 drinks/week at early-middle age is associated with lower risk for future HF, with a similar but less definite association in women than in men. These findings suggest that despite the dangers of heavy drinking, modest alcohol consumption in early-middle age may be associated with a lower risk for HF.

Alternate JournalEur Heart J
PubMed ID25602025
PubMed Central IDPMC4481602
Grant ListK08 HL116792 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
HC-11-08 / HC / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
HHSN268201100005C / / PHS HHS / United States
R00-HL-107642 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
HHSN268201100009C / / PHS HHS / United States
HHSN268201100010C / / PHS HHS / United States
HHSN268201100008C / / PHS HHS / United States
HHSN268201100012C / / PHS HHS / United States
HHSN268201100007C / / PHS HHS / United States
HHSN268201100011C / / PHS HHS / United States
K08-HL-116792 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
HHSN268201100006C / / PHS HHS / United States