HeartA recently published article concludes that the risk of dying did not differ between abstainers and moderate consumers after a coronary artery bypass. This article was published in the scientific journal BMC Cardiovascular Disorders.

The study
Danish researchers1 studied the effect of alcohol on 1,919 coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) patients. They conclude that there is no increased risk of mortality for abstainers (0 gram alcohol/week) or light to-moderate drinkers (15-21 gram alcohol/week) compared to the reference group (0-15 grams alcohol/week). Only heavy drinkers (>21 gram alcohol/week) were significantly associated with an increased mortality rate. These results suggest that only heavy drinking present a risk factor among CABG patients.

Importance
A beneficial effect of moderate alcohol consumption has been generally associated with reduced mortality, specifically for patients suffering from heart failure and acute myocardial infarction2-8. However, it is less certain how alcohol consumption influences patients with established coronary heart disease, particularly when CABG surgery is needed. Since CABG patients often have several co-morbidities and high mortality rates9-10, it is important to determine whether recommendations regarding alcohol consumption also apply to this patient group.

CABG
CABG is a surgery that is recommend when a person suffers from main coronary artery stenosis, multi-vessel coronary disease or severe angina pectoris. CABG increases blood supply to the heart, relieves pain, and prolongs life11.

References:

  1. Grabas MP, Hansen SM, Torp-Pedersen C, Bøggild H, Ullits LR, Deding U, Nielsen BJ, Jensen PF, Overgaard C., Alcohol consumption and mortality in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)-a register-based cohort study, BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2016 Nov 11;16(1):219.
  2. Klatsky AL, Armstrong MA, Friedman GD. Alcohol and Mortality. Ann Intern Med. 1992;117:646–54.
  3. Fuller TD. Moderate alcohol consumption and the risk of mortality. Demography. 2011;48:1105–25.
  4. Mukamal KJ, Maclure M, Muller JE, Sherwood JB, Mittleman MA. Prior alcohol consumption and mortality following acute myocardial infarction. JAMA. 2001;285:1965–70.
  5. Mukamal KJ, Conigrave KM, Mittleman MA, Camargo CA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, et al. Roles of drinking pattern and type of alcohol consumed in coronary heart disease in men. New Engl J Med. 2003;348:109–18.
  6. Faris RF, Henein MY, Coats AJS. Influence of gender and reported alcohol intake on mortality in nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy. Heart Dis. 2003;5:89–94.
  7. Fagrell B, De Faire U, Bondy S, Criqui M, Gaziano M, Gronbaek M, et al. The effects of light to moderate drinking on cardiovascular diseases. J Intern Med. 1999;246:331–40.
  8. Gisbertz SS, Derksen WJM, de Kleijn DPV, Vink A, Bots ML, de Vries J-PPM, et al. The effect of alcohol on atherosclerotic plaque composition and cardiovascular events in patients with arterial occlusive disease. J Vasc Surg. 2011;54:123–31.
  9. Thorsteinsson K, Fonager K, Mérie C, Gislason G, Køber L, Torp-Pedersen C, et al. Age-dependent trends in postoperative mortality and preoperative comorbidity in isolated coronary artery bypass surgery: a nationwide study†. Eur J Cardio-Thorac. 2015:1-7
  10. Ferguson Jr TB, Hammill BG, Peterson ED, DeLong ER, Grover FL. A decade of change—risk profiles and outcomes for isolated coronary artery bypass
  11. Hall S, Lorenc T. Secondary prevention of coronary artery disease. Am Fam Physician. 2010;81:289–96.

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