Weekly Alcohol Consumption and Coronary Artery Disease

November 29, 2016

Coronary CT angiography shows whether alcohol consumption is associated with coronary artery disease.

Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) images show no association between light to moderate alcohol consumption and coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a study presented at RSNA 2016.

Researchers from Hungary assessed the association between alcohol consumption and the presence of CAD as detected by CCTA.

A total of 1,925 patients, mean age 57.3, referred for CCTA with suspected CAD participated in the study; 43.1% were female. The researchers collected information on alcohol consumption, the amount and type of alcohol consumed. Alcohol units were calculated as one unit equals two dl beer, one dl wine, or four cl of spirits. The patients were also classified as being in CAD or no CAD groups, based on the presence of any plaque on coronary CCTA. Using an in-house reporting platform that contained the patients' clinical and CCTA data, researchers then assessed the relationship between atherosclerosis, clinical risk factors, and patient drinking habits.

"CCTA is an excellent diagnostic modality to noninvasively depict the coronary wall and identify atherosclerotic lesions," study author Júlia Karády, MD, from the MTA-SE Cardiovascular Imaging Research Group, Heart and Vascular Center at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, said in a release. "Furthermore, we're able to characterize plaques and differentiate between several types. Prior studies used cardiovascular risk factors-like high cholesterol levels-and cardiovascular outcomes to study the effects of alcohol, but our study is unique in that we analyzed both drinkers and non-drinkers using CCTA, which may shed some light on how alcohol may or may not contribute to the development of fatty plaques in the arteries of the heart."

The results showed the presence of atherosclerotic plaque in at least one coronary segment in 74.3% of the patients. Alcohol consumption was reported by 37.3%of the patients with a median of 6.7 units weekly. Using univariate analysis to compare CAD and no CAD patients, the researchers found significant differences regarding cardiovascular risk factors but no difference in alcohol consumption. There was also no association between alcohol intake and the presence of CAD.

A secondary analysis assessed the relationship between alcohol consumption and CAD among non-drinkers and light drinkers (maximum 14 units per week; 82.7% of alcohol drinkers) and found no association. There was also no association between the types of alcohol (wine, beer, spirits).[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"54448","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","id":"media_crop_5775736411942","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"6817","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","title":"A representative example of coronary CT angiography of a patient who reported no alcohol consumption (panel A) and a patient who reported moderate alcohol consumption (panel B). The age and gender matched patients display the same extent and severity of coronary artery disease. ©RSNA, 2016.","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]