AF risk increased with every 10 grams of alcohol consumed daily
Over 6 years of follow-up and more than 17,600 ECG scans, the researchers identified 1,088 cases of AF, and long-term alcohol intake was found to raise the risk for this condition.
Results of the analysis revealed that the more alcohol participants consumed, the greater their risk of AF; each 10 grams of alcohol consumed each day (just under one drink daily) was linked to a 5 percent greater risk of new-onset AF.
The researchers say this increased risk of AF is likely down to enlargement of the heart's left atrium as a result of alcohol intake; each additional 10 grams of alcohol consumed daily was associated with a 0.16 millimeter increase in size of the left atrium.
What is more, around 24 percent - and up to 75 percent in some cases - of the relationship between regular alcohol intake and risk of AF could be explained by enlargement of the heart's left atrium, the team reports.