Study finds that drinking coffee does not cause cardiac arrhythmias

cardiac arrhythmias
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A new study by the University of California, San Francisco, has found no evidence that moderate coffee consumption can cause cardiac arrhythmia

In the study, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) scientists assessed whether coffee consumption was associated with a risk of cardiac arrhythmia and whether genetic variants that affect caffeine metabolism could modify that association.

386,258 coffee drinkers participated in the research, with an average mean age of 56 years.

The results showed that approximately 4 % of the sample developed an arrhythmia and there was no evidence of a heightened risk observed among those genetically predisposed to metabolise caffeine differently.

Coffee reduces arrhythmia risk

The researchers said that higher amounts of coffee were actually associated with a 3% reduced risk of developing an arrhythmia.

“Coffee is the primary source of caffeine for most people, and it has a reputation for causing or exacerbating arrhythmias,” said senior and corresponding author Gregory Marcus, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at UCSF.

“But we found no evidence that caffeine consumption leads to a greater risk of arrhythmias,” said Marcus, who specialises in the treatment of arrhythmias. “Our population-based study provides reassurance that common prohibitions against caffeine to reduce arrhythmia risk are likely unwarranted.”

“Only a randomised clinical trial can definitively demonstrate clear effects of coffee or caffeine consumption,” said Marcus. “But our study found no evidence that consuming caffeinated beverages increased the risk of arrhythmia. Coffee’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may play a role, and some properties of caffeine could be protective against some arrhythmias.”

The authors noted that detailed information on the type of coffee – such as espresso or not – was unavailable.

The full report has been published in JAMA Internal Medicine.


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