Last Updated: April 16, 2018.
The results of the study help clarify the links between caffeine and some heart conditions, and possibly proves that coffee, to some extent, is beneficial for people with heart arrhythmias.
However, more than 80 per cent of clinicians in the United States recommend patients with palpitations or arrhythmia to abstain or reduce caffeine.
However, researchers from the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia have found that coffee and tea don't increase the risk of cardiac arrest and actually decrease the frequency of arrhythmias in some people.
"Although coffee increases your heart rate, it does not make it abnormal", explained senior researcher Dr. Peter Kistler. Many studies in the past yielded similar conclusions about energy drinks: they could potentially cause life-threatening heart rhythms and blood clots.
Still, Kistler said that people who develop heart palpitations after drinking caffeine should still avoid it.
"There is significant public and professional interest in the role that caffeinated beverages - coffee, tea and energy drinks - have on cardiovascular health but the widely held belief that moderate intake can exacerbate arrhythmias is not supported by the medical literature", Prof Kistler said. In fact, regular coffee consumption protects patients from atrial fibrillation. A further analysis of almost 116,000 patients found a 13 percent risk reduction.
One analysis showed the frequency of AFib decreased by six percent in people who regularly drank coffee, and another evaluation found a 13 percent reduced risk of AFib in 115,993 patients. Caffeine also blocks adenosine, a chemical that can trigger atrial fibrillation, Kistler explained. The levels of caffeine, guarana, sugar, and ginseng can cause harmful side effects, including abnormal heart rhythms.
Two studies, however, found an increase in the risk for ventricular arrhythmias among patients who drank as much as nine or 10 cups of coffee a day. These drinks can each contain 160 to 500 milligrams of concentrated caffeine. Around 9 percent of US residents older than 65 have atrial fibrillation.
For more on abnormal heart rhythms, visit the American Heart Association.
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