Page last updated: September 13, 2018
Alcohol consumption and the risk of incident pulmonary embolism

Moderate alcohol consumption has been variably associated with hemostatic and fibrinolytic factor levels, but the association between alcohol consumption and risk of incident pulmonary embolism (PE) remains uncertain. A study evaluated alcohol consumption amount and frequency in relation to PE risk.

Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), NHS II, and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study participants free of venous thromboembolism (VTE) at baseline (n=217,442) reported alcohol consumption by type, quantity, and frequency, every 2-4 years. Incident PE cases were identified by self-report and confirmed for participants without cancer. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for PE associated with alcohol consumption amount and, separately, frequency. Secondary analyses evaluated alcohol type and heavy episodic drinking in relation to PE risk, and amount and frequency in relation to medical record-confirmed idiopathic PE and any self-reported VTE risk. Cohort-specific analyses were pooled using random-effects metaanalysis.

During ≥20 years of follow-up, 1,939 PE events were identified. No strong evidence was found for an association between PE risk and alcohol consumption amount (HR for 5.0-14.9 grams (g)/ day vs. abstention = 0.97 [95%CI: 0.79, 1.20]) or frequency (HR for 5-7 drinking days per week vs. abstention = 1.04 [95%CI: 0.88, 1.23]). Secondary analyses of type, heavy episodic drinking, idiopathic PE, and VTE also yielded null findings.

Among three large prospective cohorts of US men and women, the research found no evidence of an association between the amount or frequency of alcohol consumption and pulmonary embolism risk.

Source: Alcohol consumption and the risk of incident pulmonary embolism in us women and men. Harrington LB, Hagan KA, Mukamal KJ, Kang JH, Kim J, Crous-Bou M, Lindström S, Rimm EB, Kabrhel C, Jensen MK. J Thromb Haemost. 2018 Jul 5. doi: 10.1111/jth.14224.
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