Does Coffee Hurt Your Heartbeat?

Atrial fibrillation risk not linked to coffee intake


Coffee can perk you up, but is that a bad thing for your heart? In the past, some have expressed concern that it may be.

But a new study from Sweden found no link between coffee intake and atrial fibrillation (AFib) risk in the vast majority of patients.

"This is the largest prospective study to date on the association between coffee consumption and risk of atrial fibrillation," said lead author Susanna Larsson, PhD, an associate professor of environmental medicine at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, in a press release. "This is important because it shows that people who like coffee can safely continue to consume it, at least in moderation, without the risk of developing this condition."

AFib is an irregular, often rapid heart rate that can decrease blood flow.

For this study, Dr. Larsson and team looked at about 42,000 men and 35,000 women who reported their coffee intake in 1997. These patients were followed for 12 years.

The average daily coffee intake was 3 cups for both men and women. About 7,000 had AFib at the study's start.

The findings from this study were then compared to a larger study of almost 250,000 patients — 10,000 of whom had AFib.

No link between coffee intake and AFib incidence was found in the vast majority of patients, even when it came to more extreme levels of coffee intake.

However, patients with AFib tended to consume less coffee in general.

Despite these findings, Dr. Larsson and team warned that coffee intake may still trigger other forms of irregular heartbeat. There are also few other studies which have looked at the possible link between AFib and coffee intake.

This study was published Sept. 22 in the journal BMC Medicine.

The Swedish Research Council and the Karolinska Institutet funded this research. Dr. Larsson and team declared no conflicts of interest.