Exploring the link between alcohol and atrial fibrillation recurrence

Years funded:
2016 - 2018

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common rhythm disturbance of the heart and its incidence continues to grow.

In addition to a doubling in overall mortality associated with AF, owing predominantly to heart failure and stroke, AF is associated with significant morbidity and reduced quality of life.

The economic impact on society is considerable, with the number of AF hospitalisations growing by 7.9% annually, at an estimated annual cost of $1.25 billion to the Australian economy.

Treatment of AF is multi-faceted, often comprising medications, electrical cardioversion and invasive procedures. However, attention has recently shifted to the importance of lifestyle therapies, with weight loss identified as a key measure in preventing its onset and progression. While the association between binge drinking and AF is well-established, recent studies indicate that even individuals with long-standing mild-moderate intake are at increased risk.

Our research aims to determine whether significant reduction and/or abstinence from alcohol will prevent progression of AF and its associated burden on the patient and society. We are hoping to show that decreasing alcohol intake significantly reduces AF frequency and burden. This trial would be a world-first and we anticipate the results will pave the way for a greater emphasis on alcohol reduction strategies and other key preventative health measures, with a greater role for primary care and health promotion strategies in tackling this AF epidemic.

Researcher Profile

Dr Aleksandr Voskoboinik

Institute: Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute
Learn More