The more you drink the faster your heart beats

By June Shannon Heart News   |   20th Mar 2018

The more alcohol you drink, the higher your heart rate gets, new research presented at a major conference organized by the European Society of Cardiology has found.

The more alcohol you drink, the higher your heart rate gets, new research presented at a major conference organised by the European Society of Cardiology has found.

The study examined findings from the Munich Beer Related Electrocardiogram Workup (MunichBREW) study which was conducted by researchers from the LMU University Hospital Munich Department of Cardiology, supported by the German Cardiovascular Research Centre (DZHK) and the European Commission.

It was the first assessment of the acute effects of alcohol on electrocardiogram (ECG) readings and included more than 3,000 people attending the 2015 Munich Oktoberfest.

ECG readings were taken, and breath alcohol concentrations were measured. Age, sex, heart disease, heart medications, and smoking status were recorded. Participants were, on average, 35 years old and 30 per cent were women.

The average adult heart beats between 60 and 100 beats a minute at rest.  However, the study found that increasing breath alcohol concentration was significantly associated with sinus tachycardia (a condition where the heart beats faster) of more than 100 beats per minute in more than a quarter of the participants.

The current analysis of the MunichBREW study looked in more detail at the quantitative ECG measurements in 3,012 participants. The researchers investigated the association between blood alcohol concentration and four ECG parameters: excitation (heart rate), conduction (PR interval, QRS complex), and repolarisation (QT interval).  They found that increased heart rate was associated with higher breath alcohol concentration, confirming the initial results of the MunichBREW study.

Drinking more than the recommended maximum levels of alcohol increases your risk of high blood pressure and stroke and higher quantities of alcohol also increase your risk of developing cardiac arrhythmias – heart conditions where there is an irregular heartbeat.


Published Tuesday 20 March 2018



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