This study found that among 100 patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF), recent alcohol use was related to triggering an AF episode.

The findings provide evidence that a modifiable behavior (alcohol use) may influence the probability that a discrete AF event will occur.


Gregory M. Marcus (email:, Eric Vittinghoff, Isaac R. Whitman, Sean Joyce, Vivian Yang, Gregory Nah, Edward P. Gerstenfeld, Joshua D. Moss, Randall J. Lee, Byron K. Lee, Zian H. Tseng, Vasanth Vedantham, Jeffrey E. Olgin, Melvin M. Scheinman, Henry Hsia, Rachel Gladstone, Shannon Fan, Emily Lee, Christina Fang, Kelsey Ogomori, Robin Fatch and Judith A. Hahn


Marcus, G., Vittinghoff, E., Whitman, I., Joyce, S., Yang, V., Nah, G., Gerstenfeld, E., Moss, J., Lee, R., Lee, B., Tseng, Z., Vedantham, V., Olgin, J., Scheinman, M., Hsia, H., Gladstone, R., Fan, S., Lee, E., Fang, C., Ogomori, K., Fatch, R. and Hahn, J., 2021. Acute Consumption of Alcohol and Discrete Atrial Fibrillation Events. Annals of Internal Medicine,.

Annals of Internal Medicine
Release date

Acute Consumption of Alcohol and Discrete Atrial Fibrillation Events



Patients’ self-reports suggest that acute alcohol consumption may trigger a discrete atrial fibrillation (AF) event.


To objectively ascertain whether alcohol consumption heightens risk for an AF episode.


A prospective, case-crossover analysis.


Ambulatory persons in their natural environments.


Consenting patients with paroxysmal AF.


Participants were fitted with a continuous electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor and an ankle-worn transdermal ethanol sensor for 4 weeks. Real-time documentation of each alcoholic beverage consumed was self-recorded using a button on the ECG recording device. Fingerstick blood tests for phosphatidylethanol (PEth) were used to corroborate ascertainments of drinking events.


Of 100 participants (mean age, 64 years [SD, 15]; 79% male; 85% White), 56 had at least 1 episode of AF. Results of PEth testing correlated with the number of real-time recorded alcoholic beverages and with events detected by the transdermal alcohol sensor. An AF episode was associated with 2-fold higher odds of 1 alcoholic beverage (odds ratio [OR], 2.02 [95% CI, 1.38 to 3.17]) and greater than 3-fold higher odds of at least 2 beverages (OR, 3.58 [CI, 1.63 to 7.89]) in the preceding 4 hours. Episodes of AF were also associated with higher odds of peak blood alcohol concentration (OR, 1.38 [CI, 1.04 to 1.83] per 0.1% increase in blood alcohol concentration) and the total area under the curve of alcohol exposure (OR, 1.14 [CI, 1.06 to 1.22] per 4.7% increase in alcohol exposure) inferred from the transdermal ethanol sensor in the preceding 12 hours.


Confounding by other time-varying exposures that may accompany alcohol consumption cannot be excluded, and the findings from the current study of patients with AF consuming alcohol may not apply to the general population.


Individual AF episodes were associated with higher odds of recent alcohol consumption, providing objective evidence that a modifiable behavior may influence the probability that a discrete AF event will occur.

[This study was previously published on Movendi International website on May, 2021 as presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 70th Annual Scientific Session]

Source Website: ACP Journals