You may have seen this report in the media regarding the effect of caffeine intake on irregular heartbeats. As many of you know, irregular heartbeats are common and can be quite bothersome. The challenge to clinicians is sorting out which are due to a more serious underlying cause, and which are simply a nuisance. Because caffeine is a known stimulant, clinicians have often advised patients who suffer from palpitations and various types of irregular heart rhythms to avoid or minimize their caffeine intake.
This new study attempted to look at the link between caffeine intake and various types of irregular heartbeats. Interestingly, the researchers found that there seemed to be minimal effect of caffeine intake on the extent of irregular heartbeats.
What can we can conclude? Although this study is limited in that it was a retrospective
review, it does show that caffeine may be just one of many triggers for heart related issues. It may play a role in certain patients but not in others. Some patients may want to experiment with their caffeine intake to see if it affects their symptoms, but it may not be necessary for all patients to eliminate it completely. As always, you should discuss your specific cardiac symptoms and issues with your healthcare provider to determine the optimal treatment strategy for you.
Irregular Heartbeats? Coffee May Not Be So Bad for You
http://nyti.ms/23txNCq via @nytimeswell
People with irregular heartbeats are often advised to give up caffeine, but a new study suggests they may not have to forgo their coffee.
Researchers had 1,388 people record their intake of coffee, tea and chocolate over a one-year period, and used Holter monitors to get 24-hour electrocardiograms.
More than 60 percent of the participants reported consuming one or more caffeine-containing foods daily. But the electrocardiograms revealed no differences in premature beats or episodes of accelerated heart rate between caffeine users and abstainers. Thestudy is in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
“There’s no clear evidence that drinking more caffeine increases the risk for early beats,” said the senior author, Dr. Gregory M. Marcus, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. In fact, evidence from other studies suggests caffeine may even be linked to decreased rates of cardiovascular problems.
“I tell patients that it is very likely that for some people, caffeine is an important trigger” of irregular heartbeats, Dr. Marcus said. “I generally tell them that it’s fine for them to experiment and weigh the pros and cons of caffeine to see how it influences their quality of life. The majority of arrhythmias are not life threatening.”