Could drinking alcohol be associated with better survival in patients after heart failure diagnosis?

Bottom Line: Having seven or fewer alcoholic drinks a week was associated with increased survival in older adults with newly diagnosed heart failure compared with patients who abstained from alcohol after accounting for other potential mitigating factors. Conflicting data exist about an association between alcohol consumption and heart failure but not much is known about the safety of alcohol consumption in patients after a new diagnosis of heart failure. This observational study of 393 patients suggests limited alcohol consumption of seven drinks a week or fewer was associated with an additional average survival of just over one year at 383 days compared with abstinence from alcohol. Survival after a new diagnosis of heart failure was about 7.5 years among patients in the study. Researchers didn’t have information about the cause of heart failure in these patients. Optimal levels of alcohol consumption by adults with heart failure remain to be determined. These results should not be interpreted as suggesting that individuals with newly diagnosed heart failure show begin drinking alcohol after their diagnosis if they did not drink previously.

Authors: David L. Brown, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, and coauthors

To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.6383)

Editor’s Note: The article contains conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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