A sixteen-day study carried out during the Oktoberfest revelers in Germany revealed a correlation between excessive alcohol consumption and heart arrhythmias. This was detected even in participants with no previous history of heart disease. Chronic alcoholism is well known to cause heart damage along with a litany of other problems.
The Oktoberfest study, however, was intended to identify immediate, short-term effects of binge drinking on the hearts of the healthy.
Binge Drinking Can Have Immediate Effects On The Heart
The study, conducted by researchers from University Hospital in Munich, included more than 3000 men and women. Smartphone apps with rhythm-tracking capabilities were utilized to continuously record the participants’ heart rhythms. They worked as the people continued consuming alcoholic beverages.
Then, they were followed by EKG tests and breathalyzer analyses. According to the team, they found was a rather convincing correlation between alcohol intake and cardiac arrhythmias. More than a third of those studied developed an electrical abnormality. Most of them presented tachycardia or a fast heart rate.
What’s more, the arrhythmia was directly proportional to the amount of alcohol consumed. More precisely, more drinks meant more cardiac issues. With each additional gram of alcohol, the risk of heart arrhythmias increased by 75 percent.
The team is planning on conducting a follow-up study. This will have its participants wear cardiac monitors for three-day. It will do so to determine if there are any residual effects on the heart after the alcohol has cleared from the body.
The results do not come as a surprise to cardiologists, many of whom have observed this sort of phenomenon before. Colloquially, it is dubbed as the “holiday heart syndrome”. Patients with a history of atrial fibrillation are particularly vulnerable to recurrence after drinking, especially binge drinking. Atrial fibrillation is the condition in which the top chambers of the heart quiver and beat irregularly
Evidence from this study solidifies what many people already know. Drinking is an activity best enjoyed in moderation. A paper with the study results was also published last week. It was released in the European Heart Journal.
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