Moderate drinking after heart attack lowers death risk

Washington: Men who drink moderately have a lower risk of death than non-drinkers, especially after surviving the first heart attack.

Study co-author Jennifer Pai, assistant professor of medicine at Channing Lab, Brigham and Women`s Hospital, said: "Our findings clearly demonstrate that long-term moderate alcohol consumption among men who survived a heart attack was associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular mortality.

"We also found that among men who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol prior to a heart attack, those who continued to consume alcohol `in moderation` afterwards also had better long term prognosis," Pai was quoted as saying by the European Heart Journal.

Pai and colleagues looked at a subset of 1,818 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who had survived a first heart attack between 1986 and 2006. They were followed for up to 20 years from the time of the heart attack. During this period 468 men died, according to a Brigham statement.

Looking at levels of alcohol consumption before and after the heart attack, they found that the majority of men did not change their drinking habits, and also that those who drank before and afterwards tended to have a lower risk of death than non-drinkers.

"Our results, showing the greatest benefit among moderate drinkers and a suggestion of excess mortality among men who consumed more than two drinks a day after a heart attack, emphasise the importance of alcohol in moderation," said Pai.