The relationship between alcohol consumption and ischaemic heart disease (IHD) risk is complex and several issues remain unresolved because many studies used rather crude exposure measures often based on one or two questions. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between heavy drinking occasions and IHD mortality while controlling for average daily alcohol intake and separating former drinkers from lifetime abstainers.
Source: Heavy drinking occasions in relation to ischaemic heart disease mortality— An 11–22 year follow-up of the 1984 and 1995 US National Alcohol Surveys. Michael Roerecke, Thomas K Greenfield, William C Kerr, Susan Bondy, Joanna Cohen and Jürgen Rehm. International Journal of Epidemiology.
Cox regression analyses were used with IHD mortality as the outcome in a sample of 9934 participants of the US National Alcohol Surveys conducted in 1984 and 1995.
To the end of 2006, 326 deaths from IHD were recorded in the 11- to 22-year follow-up period. Any past heavy drinking occasions in former drinkers [hazard ratio (HR)_=_2.06; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.10–3.85] compared with former drinkers without such drinking occasions, and any heavy drinking occasion in current drinkers at baseline (HR_=_2.05; 95% CI: 1.03–3.98) compared with current drinkers with average daily intake of one to two drinks, were associated with higher IHD mortality in men and any heavy drinking occasions among drinkers of up to 1 drink average consumption in women with similar effect size. Confounding effects from age, race, education, employment, income, marital status, geographical region, depression score, survey period or other drug use were small.
Authors conclude that amongst former and current drinkers, heavy drinking occasions should be taken into account when examining the complex association of alcohol consumption on IHD mortality risk.