The consumption of alcohol has been linked to an increase in heart rate, according to new data from the MunichBREW study.
As previously reported by Cardiology Today, the MunichBREW study showed that breath alcohol concentration was associated with dichotomous sinus tachycardia and acute alcohol intake leads to a significant increase in cardiac excitation.
Stefan Brunner, MD, from the department of medicine at the University Hospital Munich and the Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, and colleagues conducted an observational, cross-sectional cohort study composed of voluntary visitors aged 18 years or older at the 2015 Octoberfest in Munich. A total of 3,012 participants received a digital ECG, which was analyzed for cardiac arrhythmias and respiratory sinus arrhythmia, breath alcohol concentration measurements and a questionnaire.
The researchers also fitted linear regression models to examine the relation of ECG measurements and breath alcohol concentration. These models were adjusted for age, sex, country of origin, history of heart disease, use of CV and other antiarrhythmic drugs, and smoking status.
Alcohol consumption has been linked to increased heart rate
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Results were presented at the EHRA 2018 Congress.
The participants in the acute alcohol cohort were predominantly men (70%), with a mean age of 35 ± 13 years and a mean breath alcohol concentration of 0.85 ± 0.54 g/kg.
The researchers observed a mean heart rate of 91 ± 16 bpm, mean PQ intervals of 135 ± 27 ms, a mean QRS duration of 115 ± 21 ms and a mean adjusted QTc of 369 ± 24 ms.
Although there was no significant relation between heart rate and repolarization, the researchers found a link between heart rate and blood alcohol concentration (RR= 5.4, 95% CI; 4.4-6.4).
“We cannot yet conclude that a higher heart rate induced by alcohol is harmful, but people with heart conditions already have a higher heart rate, which in many cases triggers arrhythmias. It is plausible that the higher heart rate following alcohol consumption could lead to arrhythmias,” Moritz F. Sinner, MD, MPH, from Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, said in a press release. “Most people in our study were young and healthy. If we conducted the same study in older people or heart patients, we might have found an association between drinking alcohol and arrhythmias.” – by Dave Quaile
Sinner MF, et al. Arrhythmias, General — The Unusual and Unexpected. Presented at: EHRA: The Annual Congress of the European Heart Rhythm Association; March 18-20, 2018; Barcelona, Spain.
Disclosures: Brunner reports no relevant financial disclosures. Sinner reports he receives research support from Biotronik and training support from Biotronik, Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical/Abbott.