A new paper published in BMC Medicine says coffee consumption is not linked with an increased risk for atrial fibrillation.
The researchers reached their conclusion after examining two cohorts, and after performing a meta-analysis encompassing 4 studies, entailing around 250,000 participants over a period of more than 12 years.
Moderate coffee drinking was initially linked with a lowered risk in developing coronary heart disease and stroke. On the other hand, coffee is often speculated to be associated with heart problems, but its relation to the heart condition known as atrial fibrillation (AF) that is characterised by an irregular and/or abnormally rapid heart rate remained unclear. High coffee consumption is said to increase the risk of AF. But, how close to reality is this speculation?
The study is described as the largest one dealing with this subject.
“This is the largest prospective study to date on the association between coffee consumption and risk of atrial fibrillation. We find no evidence that high consumption of coffee increases the risk of atrial fibrillation. This is important because it shows that people who like coffee can safely continue to consume it, at least in moderation, without the risk of developing this condition,” says lead author Susanna Larsson, from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
The participants from the two cohorts (a total of 41,881 men and 34,594 women) reported, back in 1997, the number of coffee cups they drank daily – the average number was 3. They were followed up for over 2 decades. It was found that 4,311 men and 2,730 women had AF.
The researchers found that coffee consumption was not linked with AF incidence even when the participants displayed extreme levels in coffee drinking.
The findings were confirmed in a follow-up meta-analysis of these two cohorts and 4 other studies when the researchers found that a total of 10,406 AF cases were diagnosed among 248,910 individuals.
The researchers added that broader studies must be done to delve deeper into the relationship between the consumption of coffee and AF risk.
On the other hand, coffee might cause other irregular heartbeat problems. Furthermore, the authors suggest that some participants with AF might have quit drinking coffee or decreased their consumption thereof.