Coffee does not cause rapid heartbeat: Study

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

Coffee and other caffeinated drinks do not correlate to an increased heartbeat, a recent study found.
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks do not correlate to an increased heartbeat, a recent study found.
Regular consumption of caffeine does not cause additional, rapid heartbeats, according to a recent study from the University of California-San Francisco.

The study, titled Consumption of Caffeinated Products and Cardiac Ectopy​, has been published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. It looked at a 12 month period of chronic consumption of caffeine and is considered the largest study to evaluate dietary patterns relating to extra heartbeats.

“Our findings suggest that clinical recommendations advising against the regular consumption of caffeinated products to prevent cardiac ectopy and arrhythmia should be reconsidered,”​ authors said in the study. “However, whether acute consumption of these caffeinated products affects cardiac ectopy requires further study.”

The study’s methods

Researchers looked at participants of the Cardiovascular Health Study with a baseline food frequency assessment, Holter monitoring and without atrial fibrillation. Frequencies of habitual consumption of coffee, tea and chocolate were looked at among 1,388 participants, 46% male and 54% female, with the mean age of 72.

The study found 61% of people consumed more than one caffeinated product per day. More frequent consumption was not associated with ectopy, a disturbance of the body’s cardiac rhythm. No relationships were observable in any of the examined items, researchers said.

What problems can extra heartbeats cause?

Senior author Gregory Marcus, who works as a UCSF Health cardiologist and director of clinical research in the UCSF Division of Cardiology, said given recent findings are extremely relevant to modern given, given that extra heartbeats can be dangerous.

Premature cardiac contractions are associated with increased mortality and morbidity, researchers wrote. Premature atrial contractors and premature ventricular contractions are both associated with caffeine by experts, the study said, but “there are no data to support this relationship in the general population.”

In fact, the results of the survey found that there were no differences in PAC or PVC numbers across coffee, tea and chocolate consumption.

Guidelines from both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology said patients with premature extra beats should eliminate “exacerbating factors, such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine”.​ The study also found online medical resources, such as Medscape and UpToDate, with similar recommendations. However, researchers warn that this could prevent patients from getting the potential benefits of caffeine consumption.

“As certain caffeinated products may have cardiovascular benefits, recommendations against them may be detrimental,”​ researchers wrote.

Source: Journal of the American Heart Association

Consumption of Caffeinated Products and Cardiac Ectopy

doi: 10.1161/JAHA.115.002503

S. Dixit, P. Stein, T. Dewland, J. Dukes, E. Vittinghoff, S. Heckbert, G. Marcus

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