New study aims to address the myths and anxiety around caffeine consumption among heart rhythm patients
May 28, 2020 – A recent study revealed that drinking a couple of cups of coffee per day does not lead to a greater risk of arrhythmias. This potentially debunks a common myth that consuming caffeine in coffee and other drinks could lead to a faster heartbeat and the potential for a triggered arrhythmia for this patient population. Researchers analyzed several types of arrhythmias to better understand the impact of caffeine on this common heart condition.
Results from this observational study were released as part of Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) 2020 Science virtual meeting in May.
Americans are dependent on their daily dose of caffeine, with more than 64 percent of Americans drinking a cup of coffee every day. Patients with arrhythmias are often cautioned against regular consumption by their doctors. Despite this specific concern, caffeine also offers health benefits, including antioxidants, improved metabolism, enhanced exercise performance, and increased alertness and concentration. Studies have also shown regular coffee consumption can also yield positive heart health results, lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. With evidence showing caffeine’s positive impact on general heart health, there is a need to better understand the relationship between regular coffee consumption and arrhythmias.
The study reviewed coffee intake information and relevant data for 296,227 participants in the U.K. Biobank. The biobank follows the health and well-being of 500,000 volunteer participants and provides health information to researchers.
The mean age of participants was 56.69 ± 7.98 and 51.6 percent of participants were female. Investigators used multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analysis to test the association between coffee consumption and arrhythmia risk and plotted a Kaplan-Meier curve for cumulative incidence of arrhythmia by coffee intake.
The results demonstrated an association between regular coffee consumption and a significantly lower risk of arrhythmias. Over 5.25 ± 21 years, there were 13,138 incident arrhythmias diagnosed, including 4,748 patients with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, 798 supraventricular tachycardia, 386 ventricular tachycardia and 308 premature ventricular complex. Compared with no consumption, coffee consumption of 1-2, 3-4, or 5 or greater cups a day was associated with a significantly lower risk of arrhythmia (HR 0.90, p<0.0001; HR 0.86, p<0.0001; HR 0.85 p=0.0005; HR 0.88, P=0.05, respectively). Each additional daily cup of coffee was associated with three percent lower incidence of arrhythmia.