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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Palpitation and alcohol

03/26/2007

Question:

what is the effect of alcohol on tachycardia ?

Answer:

Thanks you for the question.

Alcohol has complex actions on the heart ... and I will only concentrate on the effects of excessive alcohol use in this answer. Excessive alcohol and alcoholism increase blood pressure and can even cause hypertension. Alcohol drinking (in excess) can increase the heart rate (tachycardia), but it is especially alcohol withdrawal that causes marked increases in heart rate and tachycardia. Finally, binging on alcohol is well known to produce not only increased heart rate, but can also cause an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation. This atrial fibrillation is known as "holiday heart syndrome," since excessive drinking binges are so closely associated with holidays!

I hope this information helps, if you have additional questions please write back.

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Response by:

Ted   Parran, MD Ted Parran, MD
Associate Professor of General Medical Sciences
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University