Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation and adverse atrial remodeling. However, abstinence from alcohol and the effect on the risk of incident atrial fibrillation is not clear. This study aims to identify if alcohol abstinence in drinkers can reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation.

This prospective, open-label, multicenter, randomized, controlled trial included a total of 140 participants who consumed 10 or more standard drinks of alcohol per week and who had persistent atrial fibrillation in sinus rhythm at baseline. The participants were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to abstain from alcohol (n=70)  or continue their usual consumption (n=70). The primary outcomes of the study were the elimination of recurrent atrial fibrillation and total atrial fibrillation burden.

After 2 weeks, recurrent atrial fibrillation occurred in 37 patients (53%) in the abstinence group and 51 patients (73%) in the control group. Abstinence from alcohol was associated with a longer period before the recurrence of atrial fibrillation, as compared with the control group. At 6 months, the atrial fibrillation burden was significantly lower in the abstinence group, as compared with the control group.

The research concluded that abstinence from alcohol was associated with a reduced risk of arrhythmia recurrences in regular drinkers.

 Ref: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1817591