Alcohol intake and bradyarrhythmia risk: a cohort study of 407 948 individuals
AIMS: There is a paucity of epidemiological evidence on alcohol and the risk of bradyarrhythmias. We thus characterized associations of total and beverage-specific alcohol consumption with incident bradyarrhythmias using data from the UK Biobank. METHODS AND RESULTS: Alcohol consumption reported at baseline was calculated as UK standard drinks (8 g alcohol)/week. Bradyarrhythmia events were defined as sinus node dysfunction (SND), high-level atrioventricular block (AVB), and permanent pacemaker implantations. Outcomes were assessed through hospitalization and death records, and dose-response associations were characterized using Cox regression models with correction for regression dilution bias. We studied 407 948 middle-aged individuals (52.4% female). Over a median follow-up time of 11.5 years, a total of 8 344 incident bradyarrhythmia events occurred. Increasing total alcohol consumption was not associated with an increased risk of bradyarrhythmias. Beer and cider intake were associated with increased bradyarrhythmia risk up to 12 drinks/week; however, no significant associations were observed with red wine, white wine, or spirit intake. When bradyarrhythmia outcomes were analysed separately, a negative curvilinear was observed for total alcohol consumption and risk of SND, but no clear association with AVB was observed. CONCLUSION: In this predominantly White British cohort, increasing total alcohol consumption was not associated with an increased risk of bradyarrhythmias. Associations appeared to vary according to the type of alcoholic beverage and between different types of bradyarrhythmias. Further epidemiological and experimental studies are required to clarify these findings.