Page last updated: August 15, 2018
Alcohol consumption and risk of coronary artery disease in US veterans

Moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) in the general population but has not been well studied in US veterans.

A group of researchers obtained self-reported alcohol consumption from Million Veteran Program participants. Using electronic health records, CAD events were identified using 1 inpatient or 2 outpatient diagnosis codes for CAD, or 1 code for a coronary procedure. Participants with prevalent CAD or incomplete alcohol information were excluded. Hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated for CAD, adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, race, smoking, education, and exercise.

Among 156,728 participants, the mean age was 65.3 years (standard deviation = 12.1) and 91% were men. There were 6,153 CAD events during a mean follow-up of 2.9 years. Adjusted hazard ratios for CAD were 1.00 (reference), 1.02 (0.92 to 1.13), 0.83 (0.74 to 0.93), 0.77 (0.67 to 0.87), 0.71 (0.62 to 0.81), 0.62 (0.51 to 0.76), 0.58 (0.46 to 0.74), and 0.95 (0.85 to 1.06) for categories of never drinker; former drinker; current drinkers of < / = 0.5 drink/day, > 0.5 to 1 drink/day, > 1 to 2 drinks/day, > 2 to 3 drinks/day, and > 3 to 4 drinks/ day; and heavy drinkers (> 4 drinks/day) or alcohol use disorder, respectively. For a fixed amount of ethanol, intake at >/= 3 days/week was associated with lower CAD risk compared with < / = 1 day/ week. Beverage preference (beer, wine, or liquor) did not influence the alcohol-CAD relation.

The data show a lower risk of CAD with lightto- moderate alcohol consumption among US veterans, and drinking frequency may provide a further reduction in risk.

Source: Alcohol consumption and risk of coronary artery disease (from the Million Veteran Program)Song RJ; Nguyen XT; Quaden R; Ho YL; Justice AC; Gagnon DR; Cho K; et al. Journal of Cardiology, Vol 121, 2018, pp1162-1168.
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