Dangers of heavy drinking if you have atrial fibrillation

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Published: March, 2021

People with atrial fibrillation (afib) who consume more than 14 alcoholic beverages a week may face a higher risk of stroke and other blood clot-related problems, according to a new study.

The study included 9,411 people with afib, who were divided into four groups based on how much they typically drank per week: abstainers or rare drinkers (less than one), light drinkers (less than seven), moderate (seven to 14), and heavy (14 or more). Researchers then tracked the participants for a median follow-up period of 17.4 months, noting the incidence of strokes, transient ischemic attacks (ministrokes), blood clots in a limb or organ (embolisms), or hospitalization for management of either atrial fibrillation or heart failure.

Heavy drinking was linked to a 32% higher risk of those complications compared with abstaining and rarely drinking. The study was published online Nov. 23, 2020, by the journal Europace.

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