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Post-Heart Attack Drinkers May Fare Better Than Quitters

Moderate drinkers may have better physical functioning after heart attack than those who quit

MONDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- Moderate drinkers who continue to drink after an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) do not appear to experience related adverse effects, and may even have better physical functioning than those who opt to quit drinking alcohol, according to a study in the June 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Maia D. Carter, M.D., of the University of Missouri in Kansas City, and colleagues studied a cohort of 325 subjects who drank moderately at the time of their AMI. The patients' drinking status post-AMI was reassessed and correlated to several health outcomes.

Of the initial moderate drinkers, the researchers found that 84 percent continued to drink and 16 percent quit drinking after their AMI. Among those who continued drinking, there was a trend toward less angina (relative risk [RR], 0.65; P = 0.11), fewer rehospitalizations (hazard ratio [HR], 0.79; P = 0.42), lower three-year mortality (RR, 0.75; P = 0.64), and better disease-specific quality of life (P = 0.10) and mental health (P = 0.51), compared with those who quit drinking.

"In conclusion, these data suggest that there are no adverse effects for moderate drinkers to continue consuming alcohol and that they may have better physical functioning compared to those who quit drinking after an AMI," the authors write.

The research was funded in part by CV Therapeutics Inc. and CV Outcomes Inc. One study author owns the copyright to the Seattle Angina Questionnaire, which was used in the study.

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