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Alcohol abstinence: effects on atrial fibrillation (AF) recurrence & other cardiovascular outcomes

Dr Aleksandr Voskoboinik, Institution: Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

2018 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Years funded: 2019-2021


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common rhythm disturbance & its incidence continues to grow. In addition to a doubling in mortality associated with AF, owing predominantly to heart failure & stroke, AF is associated with significant morbidity.

Attention has recently shifted to the importance of lifestyle therapies in addressing the AF epidemic. Many Australians drink in excess, and recent studies indicate that even individuals with long-standing mild-moderate intake are at increased risk of AF progression. There is also an established link between excessive alcohol consumption and other metabolic risk factors, including hypertension, obesity & obstructive sleep apnoea.

The ABSTAIN-PVI randomised controlled trial will determine whether significant reduction and/or abstinence from alcohol (in moderate drinkers > 10 drinks/week) has beneficial effects following ablation of atrial fibrillation. In particular, we are hoping to show that abstinence from alcohol will reduce AF recurrence, prevent progression of atrial remodelling, improve blood pressure control, cause weight loss & improve sleep profile.

This trial would comprehensively assess the short & medium term effects of alcohol abstinence on cardiovascular health. We anticipate the results will pave the way for a greater emphasis on alcohol reduction strategies & other key preventative health measures, with a greater role for primary care & health promotion strategies in tackling AF and cardiovascular disease.

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