Coffee not associated with onset of atrial fibrillation: study

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

Coffee not associated with onset of atrial fibrillation: study

Related tags Coffee Heart

Coffee does not cause atrial fibrillation, a kind of irregular heartbeat, according to research from a Swedish university.

Studies have gone back and forth on the merits of coffee over the years, but this study from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found neither men nor women faced an increased risk of this kind of irregular heartbeat.

In addition to looking at this set of data, the Karolinska Institute team examined six other studies on atrial fibrillation and drinking coffee, each of which confirmed the results of this research.

Largest study of its kind

Susanna Larsson, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute and lead author of the study, said this is the largest study to date on the relationship between coffee and the risk of atrial fibrillation.

Larsson and the team examined approximately 42,000 men and 35,000 women, both groups of which were participating in long-running studies via the Cohort of Swedish Men and the Swedish Mammography Cohort

"This is important because it shows that people who like coffee can safely continue to consume it, at least in moderation, without the risk of developing this condition,"​ Larsson said.

At the end of the study, which followed participants across a 12 year span, researchers found no correlation between coffee and an increased risk of this kind of irregular heartbeat.

During the follow up, atrial fibrillation occurred in 4,311 men and 2,730 women, even if there was a “non-significant positive association in men and a non-significant inverse association in women.”

“When we used splines to examine more extreme levels of coffee consumption, we observed no significant association in either men or women or in men and women combined,”​ the study said. “The results remained essentially the same after removing those with a history of cardiac disease and/or a history of hypertension at baseline, or removing coffee abstainers.”

Why study this possible link?

The worry of a link between coffee and atrial fibrillation was worth looking into due to the ailment causing an increase in stroke, heart failure, dementia “all-cause mortality,” ​according to the study.

With the huge economic and life-taking burden on society due to the disease, and high level of coffee consumption across cultures, the study’s authors believe finding the association between the drink and the disease has “important public health implications.”

Researchers noted that just because this kind of irregular heartbeat was not found to be associated with coffee, other kinds may be. This will likely be for future studies to determine.

Source: BMC Medicine

Title: ‘Coffee consumption is not associated with increased risk of atrial fibrillation: results from two prospective cohorts and a meta-analysis’

Authors: S. Larsson, N. Drca, M Jensen-Urstad, A. Wolk. 

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