Men with Normal Heart Function may Benefit from Alcohol after Bypass

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Moderate alcohol intake has again been shown to have heart healthy benefits, shown in a study of male patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery. Research found that men with normal heart function who drank lightly or moderately daily were less likely to need another heart procedure or have a heart attack or stroke, compared to non-drinkers.

The findings from the American Heart’s Association’s Scientific Sessions 2010 found a 25 percent reduction in recurring cardiac events for men, but not for women and not for men with left ventricular dysfunction associated with 3 alcoholic beverages daily.

Light Alcohol Safe with Heart Medications after Coronary Bypass

Umberto Benedetto, M.D., Ph.D. at the University of Rome La Sapienza in Italy says, “The benefit of light amounts of alcohol consumption has been documented in healthy individuals, but our analysis showed a benefit from light alcohol intake in post-coronary bypass patients. However, our analysis indicated that alcohol consumption is not advisable in patients with left ventricular dysfunction and heart failure. No adverse correlation was found between moderate alcohol consumption and any medication.”


The American Heart Association does not recommend alcohol consumption for those who abstain because of the potential ill health effects. Men should limit themselves to two drinks and day – for women the limit is one.

More than four drinks a day for individuals with heart failure was associated with a significantly higher chance of dying. The results of the study were obtained from questionnaire designed to compare alcohol intake among 1,021 patients who underwent heart bypass, then compared to the number of cardiovascular events and cardiac related deaths.

The findings that alcohol can benefit male patients with intact heart function who have had coronary artery bypass surgery was linked to a 25 percent less chance of needed another heart procedure and seemed to protect from heart attack and stroke. The researchers suggest longer studies that include more patients to confirm the findings.