Page last updated: Monday, July 12, 2010
The effects of moderate alcohol consumption after heart attack

Authors of a study assessing the affect of moderate alcohol consumption on the health of patients who had suffered acute myocardial Infarction (AMI) state that light to moderate alcohol consumption has been previously  associated with a lower risk of AMI and mortality. The association of changes in drinking behaviour after an AMI with health status and long term outcomes is unknown.

Using a prospective cohort of patients with AMI  evaluated with the World Health Organization‘s Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, the researchers investigated changes in drinking patterns in 325 patients who reported moderate drinking at the time of their AMI. One-year alcohol consumption, disease-specific (angina pectoris and quality of life) and general (mental and physical)  heath status,  rehospitalisation outcomes and 3-year mortality were assessed.  

Of the initial 325 moderate drinkers at baseline, 273 (84%) remained drinking, and 52 (16%) quit.   In fully adjusted models, Physical Component Scale scores (beta 6.47, 95% confidence interval 2.72 to 9.21, p <0.01)   were significantly higher during follow-up in those who remained drinking.   Persistent moderate drinkers had a trend toward less angina (relative risk 0.65), fewer rehospitalisations (hazard ratio 0.79), lower 3-year mortality (relative risk 0.75), and better  disease-specific quality of life and mental health than quitters.
The authors conclude that there are no adverse effects for moderate drinkers to continue consuming alcohol and that they may have better physical functioning compared to those who quit drinking after an AMI.

Source: Comparison of Outcomes Among Moderate Alcohol Drinkers Before Acute Myocardial Infarction to Effect of Continued Versus Discontinuing Alcohol Intake After the Infarct. American Journal of Cardiology, online April 26, 2010

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