Drinking Wine Has Null Effect in Heart Failure

MAY 26, 2015
Jeannette Y. Wick, RPh, MBA, FASCP
Light or moderate alcohol intake has been associated with health benefits such as reduced risk of cardiovascular events, but these benefits disappear as intake increases.

Although few related studies have been conducted in patients with heart failure (HF), new research indicates moderate wine consumption may provide some small benefits in this population. 

This multicenter clinical trial enrolled approximately 7000 HF patients aged 67 years on average who completed a baseline questionnaire. More than half of the participants consumed at least 1 glass of wine daily, and they rarely drank other alcoholic beverages.

Patients were sorted into 4 groups: no wine, occasional consumption, 1 or 2 glasses daily (defined as light to moderate intake), or 3 or more glasses daily. The researchers looked for relationships among wine consumption, fatal and nonfatal clinical outcomes, quality of life, depression symptoms, and circulating biomarkers of cardiac function and inflammation.

Clinical outcomes were similar across the 4 groups, as all patients experienced the same rates of fatal and nonfatal events. However, patients with symptomatic HF who consumed 2 or more glasses of wine daily had lower disease severity, better perceived quality of life, and more favorable circulating inflammatory biomarkers profiles. They were also significantly less likely to report symptoms of depression.

Nevertheless, the researchers interpreted these 2 findings—no change in clinical outcomes, yet better quality of life—as an overall neutral effect of alcohol intake on HF patients.

Thus, the researchers indicated moderate wine intake is neither protective nor risky in patients with HF. However, even light wine consumption was associated with lower plasma levels of inflammatory cytokines.

This study, which appeared in the June 2015 issue of Circulation: Heart Failure, did not differentiate between red and white wine intake, which was a limitation.