Caffeine and Arrhythmias: Is There a Link?

Regular intake of coffee and tea seems safe and may be beneficial for reducing atrial fibrillation
Regular intake of coffee and tea seems safe and may be beneficial for reducing atrial fibrillation

HealthDay News — Regular intake of coffee and tea does not appear to be associated with the risk of arrhythmia, according to a review published in the April 1 issue of JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.

Aleksandr Voskoboinik, MBBS, from Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine the impact of caffeinated beverages on cardiac rhythm. The authors examined both human and animal studies that examined the effects of caffeine on atrial and ventricular arrhythmias.  

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The researchers found that clinical studies have not shown deleterious effects of caffeine on atrial and ventricular electrophysiologic properties. Population-based studies have shown a reduction in atrial fibrillation with increasing caffeine consumption. Incident atrial fibrillation events were lower in habitual coffee drinkers among 57,053 participants followed for 13.5 years; an inverse relationship was also seen in two meta-analyses with 228,465 participants and 115,993 participants. The authors note that individuals reporting coffee as a trigger for atrial fibrillation should abstain from drinking coffee. Caffeine does not seem to increase the likelihood of ventricular arrhythmia; no association with seen in six of eight studies examining coffee consumption in 232,717 patients. Green tea was shown to reduce paroxysmal and persistent atrial fibrillation in a case-control study, while moderate tea consumption was correlated with a reduction in ventricular arrhythmia in patients after myocardial infarction. Case reports have described a temporal correlation between energy drinks and arrhythmias.

"Although there is no clearly defined threshold for caffeine harm, a regular intake of up to 300 mg/day appears to be safe and may even be protective against heart rhythm disorders," the authors write.

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