Alcohol volume, drinking pattern, and cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality: Is there a u-shaped function?

Robert P. Murray, John E. Connett, Suzanne L. Tyas, Ruth Bond, Okechukwu Ekuma, Candice K. Silversides, Gordon E. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations


The health effects of a binge pattern of alcohol consumption have not been widely investigated. The objective of this study was to evaluate the cardiovascular consequences of binge drinking (consumption of eight or more drinks at one sitting) and usual (nonbinge) drinking in a longitudinal, population-based study. Data obtained from 1,154 men and women aged 18-64 years interviewed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1990 and 1991 were linked to health care utilization and mortality records. Using an 8-year follow-up period, the authors performed separate Cox proportional hazards regression analyses for men and women on time to first event for physician visits, hospitalizations, and deaths due to coronary heart disease, hypertension, and other cardiovascular disease. Binge drinking increased the risk of coronary heart disease in both men (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.26, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.22, 4.20) and women (HR = 1.10, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.18). It increased the risk of hypertension in men (HR = 1.57, 95% CI: 1.04, 2.35) but not in women. Binge drinking had no effect on the risk of other cardiovascular disease. In contrast, usual drinking had significant cardioprotective effects in both men and women. Thus, the harmful effects of binge drinking on cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality can be disaggregated from the protective effects of usual drinking at various levels of consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-248
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported in part by grant CA50658 from the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.


  • Alcohol drinking
  • Alcoholic intoxication
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality


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