(HealthDay News) — Regularly drinking even small amounts of alcohol may increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Peter Kistler, MBBS, PhD, head of clinical electrophysiology research at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues reviewed prior research that tracked 859,420 people over 12 years.

The researchers found that the risk of atrial fibrillation grew by 8% for each daily alcoholic drink. The findings were similar for men and women.

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“This is concerning, because it can lead to serious issues, such as heart failure and stroke,” Kistler said in a news release from the American College of Cardiology. “So, even though we do not have randomized data that tells us what a ‘safe’ amount is to consume, people with an irregular heartbeat should probably drink no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day with 2 alcohol-free days a week.”


  1. Voskoboinik A, Prabhu S, Ling L, Kalman JM, Kistler PM. Alcohol and atrial fibrillation: a sobering review. J Am Col Cardiol. 2016;68(23). doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2016.08.074