Drinking up to three cups of coffee per day is safe and might even reduce the frequency of arrhythmias, according to a review recently published in JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.
Although clinicians have typically advised patients with atrial or ventricular arrhythmias to avoid caffeine in the past, the study from Peter M. Kistler, MBBS, PhD, director of electrophysiology at Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia, and colleagues found that coffee and tea may reduce the frequency of arrhythmias among this patient set.
“There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems,” Kistler said in a press release from the American College of Cardiology. “Our extensive review of the medical literature suggests this is not the case.”
To determine the interactions between coffee, tea and energy drinks and heart rhythm disorders, Kistler and colleagues performed a comprehensive search of human and animal studies that examined the effects of caffeine on both atrial and ventricular arrhythmias.
Drinking up to 3 cups of coffee a day is safe and may possibly even be protective against arrhythmias.
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According to the review, multiple population-based studies consistently showed a decrease in AF with an increase in caffeine ingestion, with one meta-analysis showing AF frequency decreasing by 6% in regular coffee drinkers and a further analysis showing a 13% risk reduction.
The researchers determined:
- Caffeine has no effect on ventricular arrhythmias.
- Patients with atrial and ventricular arrhythmias should avoid energy drinks due to their significantly higher concentrations of caffeine.
- Tea consumption may reduce ventricular arrhythmias.
- Caffeine intake of up to 300 mg per day may be safe for patients with arrhythmias.
“Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea may have long-term antiarrhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine,” Kistler said in the release. “In numerous population-based studies, patients who regularly consume coffee and tea at moderate levels have a lower lifetime risk of developing heart rhythm problems and possibly improved survival.” − by Dave Quaile
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.