Alcohol Abstinence Reduces Burden, Recurrence Rates in Moderate Drinkers With AFib

For patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol, abstinence from alcohol reduced AFib burden and rates of recurrence, along with improving symptom severity and blood pressure control and weight loss. The findings were presented on March 18 in a Featured Interventional Clinical Research session at ACC.19 in New Orleans, LA.

Patients with paroxysmal AFib with a minimum of two episodes within six months or persistent AFib requiring cardioversion who had an average alcohol intake of ≥10 standard drinks per week were enrolled from six hospitals in Australia. Patients with permanent AFib, severe left ventricular systolic dysfunction, alcohol dependence, significant psychiatric comorbidity or liver cirrhosis were excluded from the study.

In this prospective, open-label, randomized controlled trial, patients received comprehensive rhythm monitoring via an implantable loop recorder or existing pacemaker and the AliveCor® mobile phone app in conjunction with Holter monitoring.

In what the authors describe as a first-of-its-kind trial, alcohol abstinence was associated with a 37 percent increase in AFib-free survival (118 days vs. 86 days) and significantly lower AFib burden.

According to the authors, "significant reduction in alcohol intake should be part of the lifestyle intervention in moderate drinkers with AFib."

"This verifies what we believed to be true and have been recommending to our patients. It's terrific to now have science to back that statement up!" says Editor-in-Chief Kim A. Eagle, MD, MACC.

Keywords: ACC19, ACC Annual Scientific Session, Atrial Fibrillation, Alcohol Abstinence, Ethanol, Arrhythmias, Cardiac

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