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Digoxin in CHF & AF

Europe debate on trans fatty acids added to food

European Heart Failure Awareness Day

ESC President meets Portuguese Minister of Health

COPD and risk of sudden cardiac death

New edition of ESC Textbook

2015 Malaysia LIVE Conference

A New ESC website

Personal Data Protection

First ever European Director at TVT

Live Retrograde CTO Revascularization Summit Meeting

EHJ Supplement – The Heart of the Matter

The ESC Davos Cardiology Update 2015

2014 CardioCentro Ticino Award

ESC in Arabia

Nominations requested for eighth edition of Prize

Alcohol and Heart Failure

 

Digoxin increases mortality risk in CHF or AF

There is conflicting evidence about whether digoxin, might contribute to an increase in deaths in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) or congestive heart failure (CHF). Now, the largest review of all the evidence to date shows that it is associated with an increased risk of death in these patients, particularly in those being treated for AF.

In a study published in the European Heart Journal [1], researchers from the J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of all studies published in peer-reviewed journals between 1993-2014 that looked at the effects of digoxin on death from any cause in AF and CHF patients.

They identified 19 relevant studies that included a total of 326,426 patients (235,047 AF and 91,379 CHF patients). They found that digoxin was associated with a 29% increased mortality risk in patients with AF and a 14% increased risk of death in CHF from any cause, when compared to patients not receiving the drug.

Stefan Hohnloser, Professor of Cardiology at Frankfurt University who led the study, said: “Definite evidence can only come from results of randomised controlled trials. However, next to these, carefully performed meta-analyses provide the best clinical guidance and serve to generate hypotheses that need to be tested prospectively. Our analysis, together with evidence from other studies, all point in the same direction: there is harm associated with the use of digoxin.”

Prof Hohnloser said that there has only been one prospective randomised controlled trial of digoxin, which was carried out in 6,800 CHF patients, and none in AF patients. “We need randomised controlled trials to examine the use of digoxin for both conditions and that test the drug versus a placebo or another, active treatment”.

Ref:
[1] “Digoxin-associated mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature”, by Mate Vamos, Julia Erath, and Stefan H. Hohnloser et al. European Heart Journal. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehv143

 

Europe and trans fatty acids added to food

Standfirst: Europe’s policy makers call for action on industrially produced trans fatty acids in foods in the European Union

The impact of industrially produced trans fatty acids (TFAs) on the health of citizens in the European Union (EU) was debated in Brussels on 14 April 2015, by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), representatives of the European Commission and WHO Europe.

These fats are produced by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil and are used as ingredients in some processed foods, including biscuits and ready meals.

The panel debate in the European Parliament, Brussels, is an initiative of the Members of the European Parliament (MEP) Heart Group, with the support of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and of the European Heart Network (EHN).

To date, only three EU Member States - Austria, Denmark and Hungary - have adopted legislation to restrict industrially produced TFAs in the food chain. It is estimated that thousands of lives and billions of Euros could be saved if these measures were introduced more widely.

In 2008, the European Parliament published a study recommending that a ban on industrially produced TFAs should be considered at EU level. In 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that the information available was sufficient to recommend reducing significantly or virtually eliminating industrially produced TFAs from the food supply. In December 2014 the European Commission was expected to present a report on the presence of trans fats in foods and in overall diet in the EU population.

Experiences from Denmark and New York show that TFAs can be replaced with healthier substitutes without increasing the cost or reducing the quality of foods. (1,2)

Refs:

1. Stender S, Dyerberg J, Bysted A, Leth T, Astrup A. A trans world journey. Atheroscler Suppl 2006;7:47–52. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosissup.2006.04.011 PMID:16713385

2. Angell SY, Silver LD, Goldstein GP, Johnson CM, Deitcher DR, Frieden TR et al. Cholesterol control beyond the clinic: New York City’s trans fat restriction. Ann Intern Med 2009;151:129–34. PMID:19620165

 

European Heart Failure Awareness Day 2015
 
Heart Failure Awareness Day (8-9-10 May, 2015 depending on country) is designed to raise awareness about the importance of recognising heart failure, getting an accurate diagnosis and receiving optimal treatment.
 
National heart failure societies all over Europe, and amongst affiliated societies, are preparing open house clinics, town square booths, city-wide posters and TV and radio campaigns to bring heart failure to the attention of their fellow citizens.

Each country can participate in an award for the best programme. 5 winning national heart failure societies receive 5000 Euros from the HFA and certificates at the HFA Summit in October.
Winning programmes (all programmes are judged together in one country) show outstanding commitment to the event and illustrate the best preparation and organisation in the following categories:

  • Public Event
  • Open clinic
  • TV & radio coverage
  • Newspaper & website coverage
  • Printed material for patients
  • Involvement of patient groups

Prevention a priority in Portugal

On Sunday 19 April, the Portuguese Minister of Health, Pablo Macedo, opened the XXXVI Annual Congress of the Portuguese Society of Cardiology, together with ESC President Prof Fausto Pinto, Dr Miguel Mendes and Prof José Silva Cardoso, respectively President Elect and President of the Portuguese Society of Cardiology.

Together they agreed to make prevention a priority, in order to reduce the mortality due to cardiovascular diseases in Portugal. In only two weeks, 14-16 May EuroPRevent, the annual leading international event in preventive cardiology organised by the ESC, will take place in Lisbon, Portugal.

The theme of this year's congress is: “Addressing Inequalities in Cardiovascular Health”. The educational programme is accredited by the European Board for Accreditation in Cardiology (EBAC) for 15 hours of External CME credits.

After the Congress the 5 Km RUN 4 HEALTH race will start at 15:30 hr at the Jamor National Sport Centre. Organised by the European Society of Cardiology and SURVIVORS RUN, all profits from the 10 Euro fee will be donated to the European Heart for Children.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease increases the risk of sudden cardiac death

People suffering COPD have an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD), according to new research published online in the European Heart Journal [1].
 
When compared with people of the same age and sex without the disease, COPD patients have an overall 34% increased risk of SCD, but their risk almost doubles more than five years after first being diagnosed with COPD. In COPD patients who have frequent exacerbation of symptoms, the risk of SCD increases more than three-fold after five years.
 
The Rotterdam study is the first to show that COPD is associated with an increased risk of SCD in the general population and that this remains the case even when taking into account that COPD is known to increase the risk of death from any cause.

The ongoing study, which started in 1990 in The Netherlands, has been following 14,926 people living in the community aged 45 and older, for up to 24 years. The participants have regular medical examinations and are continuously monitored, so that deaths and medical conditions are recorded

The researchers say that their findings should help doctors to assess their patients’ risk of SCD more accurately, as well as suggesting directions for further research into how to target preventive action more effectively. Preventive treatments could include beta-blockers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD), or the withdrawal of drugs that prolong the QT interval, such as adrenaline, various cold remedies, some antibiotics and anti-depressants.
 
The authors, Dr Lies Lahousse, Prof Guy Bruselle and Prof Bruno Stricker write in their EHJ paper, “Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a major health problem; however, risk stratification remains difficult and probably not all risk indicators have been identified.”

 “COPD has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and with SCD in specific high-risk patient populations. This study shows that COPD is a risk indicator for SCD in the general population and that the risk increases with COPD severity. This provides directions for further measures to prevent SCD. People with COPD who died due to SCD were more likely to die during the night”.

Ref:
[1] “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and sudden cardiac death: the Rotterdam study”, by Lies Lahousse et al. European Heart Journal. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehv121
 

ESC Textbook of Intensive and Acute Cardiovascular Care SECOND EDITION now available

An updated and expanded edition, to keep physicians at the heart of Intensive and Acute Cardiovascular Care excellence.

Encompassing pre-and post-hospital care, procedures, diagnostics, techniques, management, settings, structure, function and more.

The new IACC Textbook is a key reference for education, serving the needs of all professionals involved in the management of patients with acute cardiovascular care diseases. The second edition includes 5 new topics:

  • The heart team in acute cardiac care
  • Patient safety and clinical governance
  • Ultrasound-guided vascular access
  • Donor management
  • Palliative care in the ICCU

A comprehensive book with the best scientific information contained in 78 Chapters and 11 Sections.

As part of the new 2015 Acute Cardiovascular Care Association offer, ACCA members will benefit from a preferred price.

Order Here

2015 Malaysia LIVE Conference

The  MyLIVE 2015 Conference will be held from 11–13 June 2015 in Kuala Lumpur at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur and Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur Conference centres. This is the Interventional Cardiovascular Society of Malaysia’s (ICSM) annual conference with live transmission offering a unique opportunity to meet, discuss and form networks with colleagues from around this region.

With a focus on interventional cardiovascular procedures, MyLIVE 2015 will feature the latest advances in current therapies and clinical research, interactive “How do I treat” sessions, “My Worst Nightmare”, hands-on training workshops on devices, case reviews and live transmission from the National Heart Institute (IJN) of Malaysia and from Samsung Medical Centre, Seoul, South Korea. This is a two and a half day conference.

Other highlights this year include the joint scientific session with The Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) and complicated cases session with the experts.

This conference is for cardiologists, interventional radiologists, physicians who specialize in interventional cardiology, vascular surgeons, allied health, fellows and other medical professionals interested in cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Rosli Mohd Ali FNHAM Organising Chairman of MyLIVE 2015 looks forward to meeting  participants and welcomes them to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

New ESC Website

An exciting new version of www.escardio.org will be launched in April 2015, giving readers easier and quicker access to trusted clinical practice guidelines, education opportunities, sub-specialty expertise and the world's largest cardiovascular event!

The new site will allow:

  • Search by topic
  • Search by individual personal profile
  • Get a clear overview of all content in a single click
  • Access content wherever you are via your smartphone or other mobile devices

http://www.escardio.org/

Personal Data Protection debate in Europe

Dr Frans Van de Werf FESC, Chair, ESC European Affairs Committee writes:

There is currently a fervent debate in Europe regarding Personal Data Protection. Decisions by European Union (EU) policymakers could seriously affect the capability of scientists - including those in the cardiology community - to conduct health and scientific research.

When it comes to data protection, we expect our privacy to be protected. The European Commission is working on reforming the existing EU framework on personal data protection (Directive 95/46/EC) to strengthen people's rights, their ability to control their data and their capacity to exercise their rights more effectively.

However, personal data, such as our health records, provide a vital resource for medical research, key to identifying causes of disease and developing strategies for health promotion and prevention, as well as diagnosis and treatment. Decisions by the policy makers regarding the EU Personal Data Protection Regulation, could penalise the pursuit of health and scientific research in Europe, by making the use, re-use and storage of personal data for medical studies unmanageable.

Committed to creating an environment favourable to cardiovascular prevention, medicine and research, the ESC has already taken action to seek a positive outcome for health and scientific research within the framework of these discussions. I strongly encourage you to read our Position paper on Personal Data Protection and if you are from an EU country, to support your National Cardiac Society in addressing the issue with your National Ministers for Health & Research.

 

European Course Director at Transcatheter Valve Therapeutics meeting

Dr Francesco Maisano, Zurich, Switzerland will be joining the four US founding directors as the first European at the Chicago Transcatheter Valve Therapeutics (TVT) conference in June 2015.

The TVT conference is the leading meeting in interventional cardiology worldwide and it is an honour to be invited as a director.

The four founding course directors Martin B. Leon, Mark Reisman, Gregg W. Stone and John G. Webb will continue, but will add two additional course directors with special perspectives. Dr Francesco Maisano is the first European director, the other is Dr Nicolo Piazza of McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada. In addition, the meeting venue will move from the Northwest USA to Chicago in 2015.

This 3 - day educational event is sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation and will take place on 4-6 June, 2015 at the Chicago Hilton Hotel, with an opening reception including, “Director’s Choice Taped Cases” on Wednesday, 3 June at 6:00 – 8:30 PM - CST. The directors are excited about this new location for TVT 2015 and expect more than 1000 attendees.

http://www.crf.org/tvt

The 4th European Live Summit on Retrograde CTO Revascularization 8-9 May, Zurich, Switzerland

At least every tenth patient undergoing a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) presents with one or more chronically occluded coronary arteries (CTO). Since its introduction in the 1990’s, retrograde revascularization techniques have considerably improved procedural success rates, but require substantial operational skills and a profound knowledge of PCI material, even among experienced operators.

Following on the success of the first three meetings, course directors Alfredo R. Galassi, Thomas F, Lüscher, and George Sianos proudly announce the 4th European Live Summit on Retrograde CTO Revascularization at the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland on 8-9 May, 2015.

The course is endorsed by the EuroCTO Club and the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI) and provides an excellent opportunity for interventional cardiologists at various levels of training to enhance their knowledge and skills in retrograde techniques. The course is based on 8-10 interactive live cases commented on by a panel of international CTO experts, allowing interactive discussion of interventional strategies. Additional lectures and presentation of pre-recorded cases provide insights into clinical data, interventional material, new techniques and management of complications.

An international faculty of more than 50 CTO experts from Europe, South Africa, United States, Canada, Middle East, Russia and Asia Pacific guarantees lively discussions and will be ready to discuss hot topics and uncertain areas with you. In the industry exhibition, the interested course participant has the chance to interact with representatives from different manufacturers and obtain a hands-on experience of dedicated CTO material.

With all its educational content, the 4th European Live Summit on Retrograde CTO Revascularization provides all an interventionist needs to know to establish their own retrograde CTO program at home!

Visit them at: http://www.zhh.ch/4th-european-live-summit-retrograde-cto-revascularization

Thomas F. Lüscher receives CardioCentro Award 2014

CardioCentro Award 2014 (L) to (R) Dr G Pedrazzini (Chief, Cardiac cath lab T F Lüscher, F Rezzonico Director

Prof. Thomas F. Lüscher was honoured with the CardioCentro Award 2014 on 12 December 2014 in Lugano, Switzerland. The award was presented for recognition of Prof Lüscher’s work in establishing the CardioCentro Ticino as an official partner to Zurich University and the Zurich University Hospital.

There already existed a close relationship between the CardioCentro Ticino and the Zurich University Hospital, with exchanges of junior and senior physicians. In addition, successful research takes place for heart valve diseases, myocardial infarction and stem cell therapy at CardioCentro Ticino. There is also close clinical corporation for the management of congenital cardiac defects and heart transplantation.

The University Hospital Zurich, the University of Zurich and CardioCentro Ticino, have signed an important collaboration project in the field of Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, turning CardioCentro into an "Associated Institute" of the University of Zurich.

More information on CardioCentro Ticino in CardioPulse.

EHJ Supplements – The Heart of the Matter March 2015

Dr Roberto Ferrari Editor-in-Chief reports

Roberto Ferrari

I am delighted to inform you that the 3rd issue of the new European Heart Journal Supplement – the Heart of the Matter has now been published and I would like to encourage all to read the three issues online: http://eurheartjsupp.oxfordjournals.org/

Why should one read European Heart Journal Supplement – the Heart of the Matter?

For the new concept, related to the change in editorial policy.

The ESC Journal family has grown substantially.  In essence, all of the major cardiology topics are covered by a specific journal, which did not leave much room for the Supplement to attract mono-thematic aspects of cardiology.  So, we (the Editors) decided to offer the reader and corresponding authors a unique possibility of reporting the activities of a scientific society, the ESC Affiliated Societies or individual cardiac institutions.

The first issue was published on-line in November 2014 and highlights the research activities from the King Abdulaziz Cardiac Centre NGHA in Riyadh.  This was followed by a report from ANMCO on antiplatelet therapy in acute coronary syndrome.

Future issues include the Chinese Society of Cardiology with Prof Huo Yong exploring a distinct way of cardiovascular disease control and prevention in China and another from the Cardiac Society of India with Dr Harshawardhan Mardikar. 

The current issue is a report from Gruppo Villa Maria (GVM) Network, including approximately twenty clinical institutions in Italy and abroad, and the Health Science

Foundation which is an Italian Institute of Research.  It is a collection of contributions that mainly concern one of the hot topics in current cardiovascular medicine: vascular and structural cardiac disease assessment and interventional (surgical or catheter-based) therapy. They also cover basic research performed within the group in conjunction with external collaborators. Furthermore, two articles deal with the overwhelming issue of governance and management of combined scientific and clinical institutions in a climate of increasing economic restrictions in today’s turbulent world, associated with the problem of harmonising public and private providers of cardiovascular health service in public-oriented systems such as the Italian and other European National Health Systems.

Reading the European Heart Journal Supplement – the Heart of the Matter of the Gruppo Villa Maria Care & Research and ES Health Science Foundation (ES: Ettore Sansavini) is important for any group that has to deal with the complexities of cardiovascular disease and I hope that it might offer guidance on how to implement and harmonise the various branches of cardiology.

 

Cardiology Update 2015.  An ESC Update Programme

This biennial Cardiology Update in cardiovascular medicine is organized by the University Heart Center of the University Hospital Zurich in collaboration with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School. Bertram Pitt, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, who started the course with the late Paul Lichtlen, together with Thomas F. Lüscher, Zurich, Switzerland, were responsible the 2015 Update.

There were 4 days of lectures, interactive sessions, case-based seminars and meet-the-expert sessions from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The worldwide faculty included 65 key opinion leaders. This excellent ESC postgraduate educational update programme was attended by 500 physicians.

The course was opened by the current President of the European Society of Cardiology, Fausto Pinto, Lisbon. The scientific program began with the traditional Paul Lichtlen lecture on “Social Value and Meaning for Outcomes in Clinical Trials Research” by Prof. Stuart Pocock from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Prof. Pocock pointed out, that clinical trials should be designed in such a manner to answer meaningful questions relevant for clinical practice of physicians as well as society at large. He analysed numerous trials published over the past years and discussed their strength and weaknesses.

On the first day, the scientific program included sessions on atherosclerosis, genetics, as well as traditional and novel risk factors; involving eminent scientists such as Peter Libby, Boston, John Deanfield, London and Salim Yusuf, Hamilton, Ontario. Besides the ESC guidelines related to the subjects under consideration, novel evidence and treatment options were discussed.

On the second day, stable coronary artery disease, cardiac imaging as well as thrombosis and pulmonary embolism were featured by many key opinion leaders.

The third day focused on atrial fibrillation and percutaneous interventions as well as acute coronary syndromes and on the fourth day the focus was on acute and chronic heart failure.

The course ended with the traditional Davos lecture and a brilliant presentation by Marc A. Pfeffer on Ventricular Remodelling: A Personal Journey”.

Cardiology Update 2015 presented a true update in all areas of cardiovascular medicine by international renowned faculty members and was highly appreciated by the participants.

The next Cardiology Update will take place again in Davos, Switzerland, 12-17 February, 2017.

 

The ESC at the 26th Annual Conference of the Saudi Heart Association

One in four adults in Saudi Arabia is set to have a heart attack within the next 10 years, reveals research presented at the 26th Annual Conference of the Saudi Heart Association (SHA), held 13-16 February in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The conference features sessions from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) on hot topics in cardiovascular disease including prevention.

Dr Muhammad Adil Soofi, first author of the prevention & risk factors research and assistant consultant in adult cardiology at Prince Salman Heart Centre, King Fahad Medical City in Riyadh, said: “The majority of people we studied were between 20 and 40 years old. Unhealthy lifestyles start at a young age in the Gulf and people reap the consequences early in life.”

Dr Soofi’s study investigated the prevalence of risk factors for heart disease in more than 4,900 Saudis living in urban areas who were over 20 years old and had no history of heart disease.

Most people in the study (85%) were less than 40 years old and 55% were women.

  • 25% had diabetes
  • 34% had hypertension
  • 25% were smokers
  • 27% were obese
  • 86% were not involved in any physical exercise
  • 19% had dyslipidaemia.

As a result, 26% were at high risk of having an MI or dying from an MI in 10 years, calculated using the Framingham Risk Score.

Diabetes had a major impact on risk. Dr Soofi said: “Diabetes and other risk factors start at an early age in Saudi Arabia. When we looked just at people under the age of 30, we found that 14% were diabetic, 27% were obese, 31% were smokers and 77% were not physically active. So it’s a whole package that will lead to heart disease in a decade. Young Saudis eat more fast food and deep fried items and on top of that do not exercise. Atherosclerosis, obesity and other risk factors set in at a very early stage.”

He continued: “We need to educate the masses on their doorstep using, radio, television and the internet to communicate how to eat healthily, exercise and quit smoking. If the situation remains as it is now, today’s 30 year olds will be a burden on society rather than active contributors by age 50.”

Prof Hani Najm, SHA vice president added: “Healthy lifestyles are a rare occurrence in the Gulf region and bad habits start early. Nearly one-third of teenagers smoke in some areas and the levels are even higher in others. Young people’s addiction to smart phones and social media has turned them into electronic potatoes, today’s version of the couch potato but no longer confined to one room as with television. They have zero intention of being physically active. Governments should have a responsibility to provide free indoor gyms and green spaces for exercise.”

Dr Khalid Al Habib, SHA president, said: “The Gulf States have sophisticated tertiary care for heart disease patients but, alarmingly, we lack primary prevention programmes. These need to start today.”

 

The 2015 Arrigo Recordati International Prize, call for nominations

The Arrigo Recordati International Prize for Scientific Research has announced the call for nominations for the eighth edition of the award. The International Prize of 100,000 Euros is awarded every two years to a distinguished scientist for his or her commitment and accomplishments in cardiology. In 2015 the Prize will recognize a clinical or basic science investigator who has achieved distinction in the study of secondary prevention and risk reduction strategies for patients with cardiovascular diseases.

The international award was established in 2000 in memory of the Italian pharmaceutical entrepreneur Arrigo Recordati and aims to promote scientific research in the field of cardiovascular disease.

Several International Societies and organizations specializing in Cardiology and Internal Medicine are being invited to nominate candidates that they feel merit the Award. The Prize is open to scientists of all nationalities who work in institutional settings and are not affiliated with a pharmaceutical company or medical device company.

Nominations may only be submitted by an International Society or organization invited to nominate candidates and self-nominations will not be considered. The deadline for nominations for the 2015 award is February 28, 2015. The winner of the Prize will be announced during the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) Annual Meeting in Milan, 12-15 June, 2015.

The 2015 Arrigo Recordati International Prize for Scientific Research Jury is composed of experts who have provided leadership throughout their long careers in the field of secondary prevention and risk reduction strategies for patients with cardiovascular diseases. Jury members for the 2015 edition are: Professor M. John Chapman (Chairman of the Jury), Professor Thomas F. Lüscher and Professor Chris J. Packard.

For more information please visit: www.recordati.com/prize and contact the Organizing Secretariat:
AIM Group International - AIM Congress - Ms Valentina Passalacqua - Phone +39 02 56601.1 - Fax +39 02 56609045 - e-mail: recordatiprize2015@aimgroup.eu

 

Moderate amounts of alcohol intake linked to reduced risk of heart failure

A large study of nearly 15,000 men and women, just published online in the European Heart Journal [1], shows that drinking up to seven drinks a week in early to middle age is associated with a 20% lower risk of men developing heart failure in the future when compared to people who did not drink at all, and a more modest 16% reduced risk for women.

Dr Alexandra Gonçalves, a research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, with Dr Scott Solomon, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Senior Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, USA, together with colleagues analysed data from 14,629 people aged between 45-64 years who had been recruited to the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study between 1987 and 1989 in four communities in the USA. They followed the participants for 24-25 years to the end of 2011.

They defined a drink as one that contains 14g of alcohol. During the follow-up period 1271 men and 1237 women developed heart failure. The lowest rate of heart failures occurred in those drinking up to 7 drinks per week.

However, when the researchers looked at death from any cause, there was an increased risk of death of 47% for men and 89% of women who reported consuming 21 or more drinks a week at the start of the study.

Professor Solomon said: “These findings suggest that drinking alcohol in moderation does not contribute to an increased risk of heart failure and may even be protective. No level of alcohol intake was associated with a higher risk of heart failure. However, heavy alcohol use is certainly a risk factor for deaths from any cause.

“The people who were classified as former drinkers at the start of the study had a higher risk of developing heart failure and of death from any cause when compared with abstainers. This could be related to the reasons why they had stopped drinking in the first place, for instance because they had already developed health problems that might have made them more likely to go on to develop heart failure.”

“It is important to bear in mind that our study shows there is an association between drinking moderate amounts of alcohol and a lower risk of heart failure but this does not necessarily mean that moderate alcohol consumption causes the lowered risk, although we did adjust our results to take account, as far as possible, for a variety of other lifestyle factors that could affect a person’s risk,” concluded Professor Solomon.

Notes:
[1] “Alcohol consumption and risk of heart failure: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study”, by Alexandra Gonçalves et al. European Heart Journal. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehu514