Latest study shows people may be able to lower their risk of atrial fibrillation by avoiding certain triggers like alcohol, taking other lifestyle factors into account
New research from UC San Francisco, testing possible triggers for common heart disease – like caffeine, sleep deprivation, and left-side sleep – found that only alcohol consumption was consistently correlated with more episodes of heart rhythm changes.
Posted in JAMA Cardiology and presented at the American Heart Association’s annual science sessions, the researchers found that common factors participants thought affect their atrial fibrillation (AF) were not as triggers as alcohol.
Atrial fibrillation causes more than 150,000 deaths in the United States each year
The trial had around 450 participants, 58% of whom were men and the majority of whom were 92% white. When studying the disease, the researchers prioritized what patients felt when thinking about individual triggers for AF, which resulted in the I-STOP-AFib study, which allowed individuals to test any suspected AF trigger.
Participants in the randomized clinical trial used a mobile EKG recording device as well as a phone app to record or any other potential trigger they thought was relevant to their AF.
This included drinking alcohol and caffeine, sleeping on your left side or not getting enough sleep, eating a heavy meal, a cold drink or following a special diet, and exercising.
Study participants were the most likely to select caffeine as a trigger for their AF, but the researchers found there was no association with heart disease. Other UCSF research failed to show a relationship between caffeine and arrhythmias, but instead researchers found that it may actually have a protective effect.
Research has established that alcohol consumption was the only trigger that consistently resulted in a significantly higher number of self-reported AF episodes.
The individualized testing method, known as the “n-of-1,” did not validate which triggers participants selected for AF, but noted that trial participants reported fewer episodes. of FA than those in the control group.
Avoiding alcohol may reduce your chances of having an episode of AF
Lead author Gregory Marcus, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at UCSF, said: “This suggests that these personalized evaluations have revealed actionable results, although caffeine is the most commonly selected trigger for. On testing, we found no evidence for a relationship between caffeine consumption and atrial fibrillation.
“In contrast, alcohol consumption was the most consistently associated with increased risk of atrial fibrillation.”
Marcus added: “This completely remote, siteless, mobile app-based study will hopefully pave the way for many researchers and patients to conduct similar personalized ‘n-of-1’ experiments that can provide insight. clinically relevant specific to the individual. “
People in the intervention group consistently had less arrhythmia than people in a non-self-monitoring comparison group.
It was concluded that people could potentially reduce their risk of AF by avoiding these certain triggers.
Read the full study here.