People who drink in moderation are more likely than abstainers to survive a heart attack, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Extensive research has already demonstrated that moderate drinkers are less likely to have a heart attack than are abstainers or heavy drinkers. However, little research has examined the effects of moderate drinking on heart attack survival.

In a study of almost 2,000 heart attack (acute myocardial infarction) patients, light drinkers (under seven drinks per week) were about 20 percent less likely to die and moderate drinkers (seven or more drinks per weeks) were about 30 percent less likely to die. It made no significant difference whether the patients drank mostly beer, wine, or distilled spirits.

The researchers did not investigate why alcohol has this protective effect. However, animal studies have shown that alcohol can reduce the effects of certain hormones that may stimulate the progression of heart failure.


  • Mukamal, K. J, et al. Prior alconsumption and mortality following acute myocardial infarction. Journal of the american Medical Association, 285 (15),1965-1970.

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