BackgroundAlthough alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation (AF), it is unclear whether alcohol is associated with AF recurrences after catheter ablation for AF. We aimed to systematically review the medical literature to assess the impact of alcohol consumption on the recurrence of AF after AF ablation.
MethodsA structured electronic database search of the scientific literature (Medline, Embase, and Central from inceptions to December 2021) was performed for studies reporting rates of AF recurrence after catheter ablation stratified by patients' level of alcohol consumption according to study-specific definitions. Unadjusted study-specific odds ratios (ORs) were meta-analysed with the use of random-effects models. Risk of bias was evaluated by means of the ROBINS-I tool.
ResultsWe identified 9 observational studies which included 5436 patients who underwent catheter ablation for AF. Compared with patients consuming little or no alcohol, patients consuming moderate to high amounts of alcohol had a greater risk of AF recurrence (summary OR 1.45, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-1.99; P = 0.02; I2 = 79%). Results remained robust when we excluded studies with < 100 participants (OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.03-1.9) or abstract-only publications (OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.21-2.8). All included studies were found to be at serious risk of bias, primarily due to confounding.
ConclusionsIncreased alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of AF recurrence after catheter ablation for AF. Reduction of alcohol consumption may be beneficial in this context.