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Patients with an irregular heartbeat should avoid excessive drinking

Narrator: This is Science Today. It's been known that patients with atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heartbeat, can trigger serious palpitations after excessive drinking, but a strong causal link was never established until a recent study led by Dr. Gregory Marcus of the University of California, San Francisco.

Marcus: We conducted a study to have the first group of patients with known intermittent arrhythmias that were not atrial fibrillation and we compared how often alcohol triggered their symptoms in that group to a group with known intermittent atrial fibrillation. And we found that after adjusting for multiple confounders, that the atrial fibrillation group much more frequently reported alcohol as a trigger.

Narrator: But due to some of the heart healthy benefits of alcohol, Marcus says they're not recommending against alcohol.

Marcus: Certainly I would recommend against drinking anything in excess of moderation and for patients who have palpitations or who notice they develop symptoms after drinking alcohol, I would recommend against it.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.