Author + information
- Received August 2, 1982
- Revision received October 28, 1982
- Accepted November 5, 1982
- Published online March 1, 1983.
- Toby R. Engel, MD, FACC* and
- Jerry C. Luck, MD
- ↵*Address for reprints: Toby R. Engel, MD, The Medical College of Pennsylvania, 3300 Henry Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19129.
Vulnerability to atrial fibrillation and flutter was examined in 11 alcohol abusers who did not have cardiomyopathy or manifest heart failure. Atrial extrastimu-lation was done with rapid pacing (drive cycle length 500 ms) to facilitate induction of atrial vulnerability, seen in four alcohol abusers. The remaining seven were re-tested 30 minutes after drinking 60 to 120 ml of 86 proof whiskey (ethanol blood levels were 49 to 101 mg/100 ml but pulmonary capillary wedge pressure remained normal in all) and atrial fibrillation or flutter was induced in three of the drinkers. Three nondrinkers, symptomatic with sinus bradycardia but not in heart failure, were found not to be vulnerable to atrial fibrillation or flutter, but flutter was induced in two of the three after drinking whiskey. Whiskey did not alter atrial functional refractory periods (mean ± standard error of the mean 297 ± 14 to 290 ± 12 ms) or widen the dispersion among three disparate right atrial sites (57 ± 13 to 47 ± 12 ms). Thus, whiskey enhanced vulnerability to atrial fibrillation and flutter in patients without heart failure or cardiomyopathy, substantiating the “holiday heart” syndrome.
This study was supported in part by a grant from the American Heart Association, Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Received August 2, 1982.
- Revision received October 28, 1982.
- Accepted November 5, 1982.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation