Too much drinking linked to abnormal heartbeat

January 20, 2011 2:33:13 PM PST
If you are a big consumer of alcohol, you may be more likely to experience an abnormal heart rhythm.

An analysis of 14 studies found that the heaviest drinkers had increased risk of atrial fibrillation.

Doctors have long known that a drinking binge can trigger abnormal heart rhythms. But the new report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that unusual drinking habits may also matter.

The definition of heavy drinking varies. It can mean anywhere from two or more drinks per day to at least six.

Atrial fibrillation is not in itself life threatening but is associated with higher risk of stroke, chest pain or congestive heart failure.