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Keywords:

  • Alcohol;
  • arterial wave reflections;
  • augmentation index;
  • men

Abstract

Background  Augmentation index (AIx) is a measure of arterial wave reflection, providing information on the workload of the heart. and is a possible marker for cardiovascular disease risk. The relation of alcohol consumption with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk is U-shaped with a protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption. The relation of alcohol consumption level with AIx has not been widely investigated, which prompted this study of the relation of alcohol consumption with AIx in a population-based cohort of men aged 40–80 years.

Methods  Three hundred and seventy-four men (mean age 60·5 years) participated in this cross-sectional study. Alcohol consumption and smoking habits were determined through a validated questionnaire. Fasting blood samples were drawn and analyzed for glucose and lipid levels and AIx was estimated by radial applanation tonometry using the SphygmoCor Device. The resultant data were analyzed using linear regression models.

Results  Age, height, heart rate, blood pressure, packyears, current smoking, presence of CVD and hypertension were independently related to AIx. The relation of alcohol consumption with AIx was U-shaped, with a significantly lower AIx in the group drinking 4–8 glasses/week (difference = −2·91%, 95% CI [−5·65; −0·18]) relative to those drinking 0–3 glasses/week. Additional adjustment for current smoking did not change this relationship, but adjustment for pulse wave velocity attenuated the relation.

Conclusions  In a population-based cohort of men aged 40–80 years the relation of alcohol consumption level with AIx was U-shaped, further expanding the evidence for vascular protective effects of moderate alcohol intake.