Alcohol consumption and cardiac biomarkers: The atherosclerosis risk in communities (ARIC) study

Mariana Lazo, Yuan Chen, John W. McEvoy, Chiadi Ndumele, Suma Konety, Christie M. Ballantyne, A. Richey Sharrett, Elizabeth Selvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The role of alcohol in the development of subclinical cardiovascular disease is unclear. We examined the association between alcohol consumption and markers of subclinical cardiac damage and wall stress. METHODS: We studied the cross-sectional and prospective associations of alcohol consumption with highsensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) and N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) measured at 2 time points, 6 years apart (baseline, 1990-1992; follow-up, 1996-1998), in over 11000 participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study with no history of cardiovascular disease. Alcohol consumption was categorized as follows: never, former, current: 1, 2-7, 8-14, and 15 drinks/week. RESULTS: Compared to never drinkers, persons who consumed 2-7 drinks per week were less likely to have increased hs-cTnT (14 ng/L) at baseline (odds ratio 0.67, 95% CI, 0.46-0.96), and had a lower risk of incident increases in hs-cTnT at follow-up (relative risk0.70, 95% CI, 0.49-1.00). Conversely, there was a positive association between alcohol intake and NT-proBNP concentrations at baseline. Consumption of15 drinks/week was positively associated with incident increases in NT-proBNP (300 pg/mL) at the 6-year follow-up visit (relative risk 2.38, 95% CI, 1.43-3.96). CONCLUSIONS: In this community-based study of middle-aged adults without a history of cardiovascular disease, moderate drinking was associated with lower concentrations of hs-cTnT, a marker of chronic subclinical myocardial damage, and positively associated with NT-proBNP, a biomarker of cardiac wall stress. Our results suggest that the cardiac effects of alcohol are complex. Cardiac biomarkers may help improve our understanding of the full cardiovascular effects of alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1202-1210
Number of pages9
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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