Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

Alcohol consumption associated with greater odds of a discrete AF episode in the next four hours

News - May 19, 2021

Acute Alcohol Consumption And Discrete Atrial Fibrillation Events

Presented at ACC.21 by Prof. Gregory Marcus, M.D (San Fransico, CA, USA)

Introduction and methods

Chronic alcohol consumption is a risk factor for the initial diagnosis of AF. In addition, patients often report that alcohol consumption appears to be a trigger for discrete AF episodes. Real-time assessment of both alcohol consumption and AF is necessary to study whether alcohol is associated with AF events.

The HOLIDAY study enrolled 100 patients (mean age 64±15 years, 79% male, 85% white) with paroxysmal AF. Participants were fitted with a wearable continuous ECG monitor and an ankle-worn transdermal ethanol sensor for 4 weeks. Participants were asked to press a button on the ECG monitor whenever they had an alcoholic drink. Finger stick blood tests that reflect the alcohol consumption in the past few weeks were additionally applied. A case-crossover analysis was performed among all participants that exhibited at least one AF episode during the study period of 4 weeks.

Main results


These data suggest that just one glass of an alcoholic drink was associated with a 2-fold greater odds and two or more alcoholic drinks were associated with a 3.5-fold greater odds of an AF episode occurring in the next four hours.


The discussant Anne Curtis, MD (Buffalo, NY, USA) found the study very impressive. She said that these results show that there is a tight correlation between alcohol consumption and subsequent AF episodes. Alcohol consumption is modifiable. Especially patients that are trying to avoid recurring episodes should be aware that they have some control over this by limiting their alcohol intake.

-Our coverage of ACC.21 is based on the information provided during the congress –

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