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Patients with 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 comparator 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.