Drinking too much alcohol in a given week can put atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients at an increased risk of stroke, embolism and other significant health issues, according to new findings published in EP Europace.
The authors examined outcomes from more than 9,000 AFib patients treated at one of 18 hospitals in South Korea. Patients were categorized into four groups, including one for rare drinkers (less than one drink per week), light drinkers (one to seven drinks per week), moderate drinkers (seven to 13 drinks per week) and heavy drinkers (14 drinks per week or more).
More than 79% of patients were classified as rare drinkers, more than 8% were light drinkers, more than 3% were moderate drinkers and more than 8% were heavy drinkers. Patients were then tracked for a median of 17.4 months, with researchers focused on adverse events such as stroke, transient ischemic attack, systemic embolism and more.
Overall, heavy drinking was linked with a 32% greater risk of adverse events than rarely drinking at all. Patients at a low risk of stroke appeared to be the most impacted by this shift.
AFib patients who drink less than 14 drinks per week, the team added, appear to be in the clear.
These findings suggest that physicians should speak with their patients about alcohol consumption, the authors concluded. It can help provide a more accurate picture of the individual’s risk of stroke and improve the chances that they may experience fewer adverse events.