Access to alcohol and heart disease among patients in hospital: observational cohort study using differences in alcohol sales laws

Objective To investigate the relation between alcohol consumption and heart disease by using differences in county level alcohol sales laws as a natural experiment.

Design Observational cohort study using differences in alcohol sales laws.

Setting Hospital based healthcare encounters in Texas, USA.

Population 1 106 968 patients aged 21 or older who were residents of “wet” (no alcohol restrictions) and “dry” (complete prohibition of alcohol sales) counties and admitted to hospital between 2005 and 2010, identified using the Texas Inpatient Research Data File.

Outcome measures Prevalent and incident alcohol misuse and alcoholic liver disease were used for validation analyses. The main cardiovascular outcomes were atrial fibrillation, acute myocardial infarction, and congestive heart failure.

Results Residents of wet counties had a greater prevalence and incidence of alcohol misuse and alcoholic liver disease. After multivariable adjustment, wet county residents had a greater prevalence (odds ratio 1.05, 95% confidence interval 1.01 to 1.09; P=0.007) and incidence (hazard ratio 1.07, 1.01 to 1.13; P=0.014) of atrial fibrillation, a lower prevalence (odds ratio 0.83, 0.79 to 0.87; P<0.001) and incidence (hazard ratio 0.91, 0.87 to 0.99; P=0.019) of myocardial infarction, and a lower prevalence (odds ratio 0.87, 0.84 to 0.90; P<0.001) of congestive heart failure. Conversion of counties from dry to wet resulted in statistically significantly higher rates of alcohol misuse, alcoholic liver disease, atrial fibrillation, and congestive heart failure, with no detectable difference in myocardial infarction.

Conclusions Greater access to alcohol was associated with more atrial fibrillation and less myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure, although an increased risk of congestive heart failure was seen shortly after alcohol sales were liberalized.

BMJ 2016;353:i2714

Five year change in alcohol intake and risk of breast cancer and coronary heart disease among postmenopausal women: prospective cohort study

Objective To test the hypothesis that postmenopausal women who increase their alcohol intake over a five year period have a higher risk of breast cancer and a lower risk of coronary heart disease compared with stable alcohol intake.

Design Prospective cohort study.

Setting Denmark, 1993-2012.

Participants 21 523 postmenopausal women who participated in the Diet, Cancer, and Health Study in two consecutive examinations in 1993-98 and 1999-2003. Information on alcohol intake was obtained from questionnaires completed by participants.

Main outcome measures Incidence of breast cancer, coronary heart disease, and all cause mortality during 11 years of follow-up. Information was obtained from the Danish Cancer Register, Danish Hospital Discharge Register, Danish Register of Causes of Death, and National Central Person Register. We estimated hazard ratios according to five year change in alcohol intake using Cox proportional hazards models.

Results During the study, 1054, 1750, and 2080 cases of breast cancer, coronary heart disease, and mortality occurred, respectively. Analyses modelling five year change in alcohol intake with cubic splines showed that women who increased their alcohol intake over the five year period had a higher risk of breast cancer and a lower risk of coronary heart disease than women with a stable alcohol intake. For instance, women who increased their alcohol intake by seven or 14 drinks per week (corresponding to one or two drinks more per day) had hazard ratios of breast cancer of 1.13 (95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.23) and 1.29 (1.07 to 1.55), respectively, compared to women with stable intake, and adjusted for age, education, body mass index, smoking, Mediterranean diet score, parity, number of births, and hormone replacement therapy. For coronary heart disease, corresponding hazard ratios were 0.89 (0.81 to 0.97) and 0.78 (0.64 to 0.95), respectively, adjusted for age, education, body mass index, Mediterranean diet score, smoking, physical activity, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes. Results among women who reduced their alcohol intake over the five year period were not significantly associated with risk of breast cancer or coronary heart disease. Analyses of all cause mortality showed that women who increased their alcohol intake from a high intake (≥14 drinks per week) to an even higher intake had a higher mortality risk that women with a stable high intake.

Conclusion In this study of postmenopausal women over a five year period, results support the hypotheses that alcohol intake is associated with increased risk of breast cancer and decreased risk of coronary heart disease.

BMJ 2016;353:i2314

Alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease, cancer, injury, admission to hospital, and mortality: a prospective cohort study

Background

Alcohol consumption is proposed to be the third most important modifiable risk factor for death and disability. However, alcohol consumption has been associated with both benefits and harms, and previous studies were mostly done in high-income countries. We investigated associations between alcohol consumption and outcomes in a prospective cohort of countries at different economic levels in five continents.

Methods

We included information from 12 countries participating in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, a prospective cohort study of individuals aged 35–70 years. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to study associations with mortality (n=2723), cardiovascular disease (n=2742), myocardial infarction (n=979), stroke (n=817), alcohol-related cancer (n=764), injury (n=824), admission to hospital (n=8786), and for a composite of these outcomes (n=11 963).

Findings

We included 114 970 adults, of whom 12 904 (11%) were from high-income countries (HICs), 24 408 (21%) were from upper-middle-income countries (UMICs), 48 845 (43%) were from lower-middle-income countries (LMICs), and 28 813 (25%) were from low-income countries (LICs). Median follow-up was 4·3 years (IQR 3·0–6·0). Current drinking was reported by 36 030 (31%) individuals, and was associated with reduced myocardial infarction (hazard ratio [HR] 0·76 [95% CI 0·63–0·93]), but increased alcohol-related cancers (HR 1·51 [1·22–1·89]) and injury (HR 1·29 [1·04–1·61]). High intake was associated with increased mortality (HR 1·31 [1·04–1·66]). Compared with never drinkers, we identified significantly reduced hazards for the composite outcome for current drinkers in HICs and UMICs (HR 0·84 [0·77–0·92]), but not in LMICs and LICs, for which we identified no reductions in this outcome (HR 1·07 [0·95–1·21]; pinteraction<0·0001).

Interpretation

Current alcohol consumption had differing associations by clinical outcome, and differing associations by income region. However, we identified sufficient commonalities to support global health strategies and national initiatives to reduce harmful alcohol use.

Funding

Population Health Research Institute, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, AstraZeneca (Canada), Sanofi-Aventis (France and Canada), Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany and Canada), Servier, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, King Pharma, and national or local organisations in participating countries.

Alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease, cancer, injury, admission to hospital, and mortality: a prospective cohort study by Andrew Smyth et al.

Light to moderate intake of alcohol, drinking patterns, and risk of cancer: results from two prospective US cohort studies

Objectives To quantify risk of overall cancer across all levels of alcohol consumption among women and men separately, with a focus on light to moderate drinking and never smokers; and assess the influence of drinking patterns on overall cancer risk.

Design Two prospective cohort studies. Setting Health professionals in the United States. Participants 88 084 women and 47 881 men participating in the Nurses’ Health Study (from 1980) and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (from 1986), followed until 2010.

Main outcomes and measures Relative risks of cancer.

Results 19 269 and 7571 (excluding non-advanced prostate cancers) incident cancers were documented among women and men, respectively, over 3 144 853 person years. Compared with non-drinkers, light to moderate drinkers had relative risks of total cancer of 1.02 (95% confidence interval 0.98 to 1.06) and 1.04 (1.00 to 1.09; Ptrend=0.12) for alcohol intake of 0.1-4.9 and 5-14.9 g/day among women, respectively. Corresponding values for men were 1.03 (0.96 to 1.11), 1.05 (0.97 to 1.12), and 1.06 (0.98 to 1.15; Ptrend=0.31) for alcohol intake of 0.1-4.9, 5-14.9, and 15-29.9 g/day, respectively. Associations for light to moderate drinking and total cancer were similar among ever or never smokers, although alcohol consumption above moderate levels (in particular ≥30 g/day) was more strongly associated with risk of total cancer among ever smokers than never smokers. For a priori defined alcohol related cancers in men, risk was not appreciably increased for light and moderate drinkers who never smoked (Ptrend=0.18). However, for women, even an alcohol consumption of 5-14.9 g/day was associated with increased risk of alcohol related cancer (relative risk 1.13 (95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.20)), driven by breast cancer. More frequent and heavy episodic drinking was not further associated with risk of total cancer after adjusting for total alcohol intake.

Conclusion Light to moderate drinking is associated with minimally increased risk of overall cancer. For men who have never smoked, risk of alcohol related cancers is not appreciably increased for light and moderate drinking (up to two drinks per day). However, for women who have never smoked, risk of alcohol related cancers (mainly breast cancer) increases even within the range of up to one alcoholic drink a day.

Light to moderate intake of alcohol, drinking patterns, and risk of cancer: results from two prospective US cohort studies by Yin Cao et al. BMJ 2015; 351