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Alcohol Consumption Before Myocardial Infarction: Results from the Kaiser-Permanente Epidemiologic Study of Myocardial Infarction

ARTHUR L. KLATSKY, M.D., F.A.C.P.; GARY D. FRIEDMAN, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.P.; and ABRAHAM B. SIEGELAUB, M.S.
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Grant support: contract NIH-71-2477, the Myocardial Infarction Branch, National Heart and Lung Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; grant No. 787, The Council for Tobacco Research, U.S.A.; grant HS 02288, The National Center for Health Services Research and Development; and a grant from The Kaiser Foundation Research Institute.

Presented in part at the 46th American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 10 November 1973.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Arthur L. Klatsky, M.D., Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center, 280 W. MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA 94611.


Ann Intern Med. 1974;81(3):294-301. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-81-3-294
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A statistically significant negative association between alcohol consumption and a subsequent first myocardial infarction in 464 patients was found in a study that was well controlled for cigarette smoking and five other established risk factors. There was a larger proportion of teetotalers among those who had a myocardial infarction (P < 0.01) as well as a smaller proportion of moderate (two or less drinks per day) and heavy (three or more drinks per day) consumers of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking were strongly correlated habits. The lower consumption of alcohol by persons who subsequently had a myocardial infarction apparently was not the result of intake reduction because of known heart disease or risk-factor-related diseases such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Possible explanations include indirect association of drinking habits with ethnic origin, psychological traits or other unknown risk factors for myocardial infarction, or a protective effect of alcohol.

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