Alcohol Abuse and Cardiac Disease
Understanding the relationship between heavy alcohol use, a common modifiable condition, and the most common cause of death in the world, cardiovascular disease, may inform potential prevention strategies.
The study sought to investigate the associations among heavy alcohol use and atrial fibrillation (AF), myocardial infarction (MI), and congestive heart failure (CHF).
Using the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project database, the researchers performed a longitudinal analysis of California residents above 21 years of age who received ambulatory surgery, emergency, or inpatient medical care in California between 2005 and 2009. The researchers determined the risk of an alcohol use disorder diagnosis on incident AF, MI, and CHF. Patient characteristics modifying the associations and population-attributable risks were determined.
Among 14,727,591 patients, 268,084 (1.8%) had alcohol use disorder.
After multivariable adjustment, alcohol use disorder was associated with an increased risk of incident AF, MI, and CHF.
In interaction analyses, individuals without conventional risk factors for cardiovascular disease exhibited a disproportionately enhanced risk of each outcome. The population-attributable risk of alcohol use disorder on each outcome was of similar magnitude to other well-recognized modifiable risk factors.
Heavy alcohol use increased the risk of AF, MI, and CHF to a similar degree as other well-established risk factors.
Those without traditional cardiovascular risk factors are disproportionately prone to these cardiac diseases in the setting of heavy alcohol use. Thus, efforts to mitigate alcohol use disorder might result in meaningful reductions of cardiovascular disease.