Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-2010

Comments

This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine

Volume 11, Issue 4, April 2010, Pages 221-228.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.2459/JCM.0b013e328334b42d. Copyright © Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins

Abstract

The use of alcohol as a social lubricant has been ubiquitous in human societies since ancient times. It has also long been recognized that alcohol produces undesirable cardiovascular effects, especially when imbibed in excess. Numerous investigators have noted a causal relationship between alcohol and arrhythmias, as well as sudden cardiac death. We have undertaken a comprehensive review of the literature on alcohol as a potential trigger for arrhythmias. We have reviewed the major epidemiological studies undertaken on this subject. We have also explored pathophysiological mechanisms that drive the arrythmogenic effects of alcohol. In conclusion, although there is definite proof in the literature to implicate alcohol as a culprit in arrhythmias, the relationship is complex.

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