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Alcohol and A-Fib
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Alcohol and A-Fib

Dear Doctor:

I am 35 year old healthy male other than benign PVC's and PAC's. All cardiac tests normal. What do you think the connection between alcohol consumption and A-Fib is? When I had my only episode of A-Fib almost two years ago,I had been drinking two full glasses of red wine daily to raise my HDL. My cardiologist said my magnesium was low and prescribed Magnesium Oxide. Since then, no more episodes. But I am still afraid to drink alcohol. Do you think the Alcohol-A-Fib connection is related to magnesium depletion or is there some other component? Thanks for your time!
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Avatar_n_tn
Erik,

Great question.  I wish I knew the answer.  I've done repeated medline searches over the past 2 years trying to find out the mechanism by which some patients with paroxysmal afib develop afib recurrence with alcohol ingestion -- no luck.  Most of the expert afib specialists here either think that it is coincidence or related to autonomic tone changes.  

As an aside, "Holiday heart" is a syndrome of afib during a hangover.  This syndrome is caused by excess sympathetic tone during the hangover, but I think that this is a different mechanism altogether.

Hope that helps.


4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi - just to say alcohol ALWAYS gives me heart disturbances, generally the next day.  When I mentioned this to my cardiologist he said he often hears from other patients that this happens but he is not quite sure why.
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't drink alcohol any more, but when I used to have an occasional drink it would make my heart race.  Don't know why, but it was very uncomfortable.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm 45 male and have had an erratic heartbeat for about 20 years.  Unfortunately it has taken me that long to realise that wine seems to bring it on.  No problems with beer.

I wore one of those recorders years ago and when the doctor saw the trace he was very concerned until I convinced him that I had never fainted or had dizziness and he could not detect a murmur.  

From memory (and that's starting to go as well!) my heart would miss the ventricular beat so there would by two or three atrial blips and then a massive ventricular contraction which I guess is what I feel.

A couple of years ago I stopped drinking red wine thinking that I was allergic to the histamines but I now notice it happens with white wine as well.

Oh well, yet another avenue of pleasure taken away from me.
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