A few beers?

I’m on about my sixth week with PM, using only atrial lead. Felling better just about everyday. Had PM installed due to bradycardia and Afib. Now set to 70 bpm and on Flecainide and beta blocker. I’m. 58 years old and in good physical shape (for the most part).

I know alcohol is a no no for Afib, but I still imbibe 2-3 beers nearly daily. In fact, when I’m feeling crappy, a beer or two generally relaxes me and makes my stomach feel better. Usually, my chest pains and dizzy spells coincide with stomach issues. 

I have cut back at least 50% on my consumption, since diagnosed with Afib, etc. Previously I’d suffer a lot of arrhythmia and angina after a night of heavier drinking

Any similar experience or thoughts on this? Hate to give up one of life’s great joys.




Sip and see - alcohol and atrial fibrillation

by Selwyn - 2019-06-05 18:26:27

Yes, I know all the information is to knock alcohol if you have atrial fibrillation.

I have put myself to the sword! All in the interests of science- certainly a bottle of wine had no effect on my AF ( I have not tried more than that!).

I was also taking Flecainide at the time. The beta blockers should help.

The recommended safe level of drinking is easily exceeded by 'a couple of beers' per night. Whilst most can drink more than the safe level ( 14 units per week now), if you look at illness associated with alcohol  ( and I have spoken at a World Alcohol Conference on that  subject), after a few drinks per week, the prevalence of illness starts to take off. 

You should make sure your beta blockers are keeping your pulse rate down. Sometimes the dose needs an increase, especially if you have a greater than average weight. Beer, wine, etc  are full of calories.  It is also good for your liver to have a couple of alcohol free days per week.

Of course, if we starved ourselves, like the lab rats, we would all live longer. Sometimes, quality is more important than quantity.  My choice is for a good Scottish malt whisky - the expense alone should stop you drinking too much! Indeed, alcohol was once used for the treatment of angina:

' Alcohol has been regarded as a valuable drug in the treatment of angina pectoris since the earliest description of the disease by Heberden1 in 1786. It is rated by most contemporary authorities as one of the few effective coronary vasodilators, second only to the nitrites.2 Indeed, the effect of 1 or 2 ounces (30 to 60 cc.) of whisky or brandy in terminating an anginal attack is said to be comparable in many instances to the results obtained with glyceryl trinitrate. '

The highlight of my vascular surgery career was putting the whole ward on whisky over the Christmas period - bless the NHS! Alcohol was prescribed on the vascular ward for vasodilatation, indeed I remember one gent having an alcohol drip!  Best to take it by mouth though. 


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