Healthday News — Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with reduced risk of heart failure but not atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study published in JACC: Heart Failure.

Augusto Di Castelnuovo, PhD, from the IRCCS Instituto Neurologico Mediterraneo NEUROMED in Italy, and colleagues analyzed 22,824 individuals from the general population with complete data on heart failure, AF, and alcohol consumption. Participants were followed for a median of 8.2 years (183,912 person-years).

The researchers identified 943 and 554 incident cases of heart failure and AF, respectively, during follow-up. Both former and occasional drinkers showed a risk of developing heart failure that was comparable to never drinkers.

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Drinking 1 to 4 drinks/day was associated with a reduced risk of heart failure, with a maximum risk reduction of 22% at 20 g/day independent of confounders. There was no correlation for alcohol consumption with AF onset. Restriction of the analyses to regular or only-wine drinkers or according to sex, age, social status, or adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with very similar results.

“Consumption of alcohol in moderation was associated with a lower incidence of heart failure but not with development of atrial fibrillation,” the authors write.

The study was funded in part by Pfizer.

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Di Castelnuovo A, Costanzo S, Bonaccio M, et al. Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with lower risk for heart failure but not atrial fibrillation [published online October 2017]. JACC Heart Failure. doi: 10.1016/j.jchf.2017.08.017