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Red wine consumption, coronary calcification, and long-term clinical evolution

Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is associated with atherosclerotic complications. However, elevated CAC may not always imply a worse prognosis. A study reports on the clinical evolution of long-term red wine drinkers in relation to CAC.
200 healthy male habitual red wine drinkers were followed and were compared to 154 abstainers for a period of 5.5 years. The initial evaluation included coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA), clinical, demographics, and laboratory data. CAC was quantified by the Agatston score.
The follow-up process documented occurrence of death, acute myocardial infarction (AMI), or coronary revascularization (or major adverse cardiac event - MACE). The red wine drinkers ingested 28.9Å}15 g of alcohol/day for 23.4Å}12.3 years. They had higher high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein, but lower C-reactive protein than abstainers. Age, total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and liver enzymes were similar.
History of diabetes was lower among drinkers, but other risk factors were similar. However, drinkers had higher CAC than abstainers; the mean value was 131.5Å}362 in drinkers vs 40.5Å}320 in abstainers. The median and interquartile range were 15 (0.0-131.5) in red wine drinkers and 1 (0.0- 40.5) in abstainers. During the follow-up, major adverse cardiac events were significantly lower in drinkers than in abstainers, despite their higher CAC. The difference was driven mainly by heart attacks (0 vs 6). Greater CAC values in this setting did not predict worse prognosis. A possible underlying mechanism is lesion calcification, which leads to plaque stabilisation and less clinical events.
Source: Red wine consumption, coronary calcification, and long-term clinical evolution. da Luz PL; Favarato D; Moriguchi EH; de Carli W; Bruscato N; Mochiduky RI; Schwartzman P; Rochitte CE; Laurindo FR. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2018 Nov 29;51(12):e7703.
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