Af and alcohol and caffeine

I am not sure if this has been discussed but seems potentially relevant to me.

Does one need to give up alcohol and caffeine?

If not what are the proposed limits? Per week? Measured in terms of medium sized glasses of wine or alcohol mg's?



Sorry if this has been discussed as nauseam

57 Replies

  • Discussed many, many, many times. Depends upon whether or not both alcohol and cafffeine are triggers for your ur AF - before ablation even the smell of alcohol set me off - it started slowly - first I couldn't drink whisky, a favorite tipple, then red wine then anything would set me off. Anything with caeiffeine always!

    Since ablation I confine myself to one cup of good quality coffee with milk a day with no problems and the occasional glass socially with no problems - I have had a few episodes of AF recently.

    It is very individual - some people can indulge whilst others cannot or choose not. Personally I don't miss the alcohol at all but not drinking coffee makes me feel quite deprived, but I lived without it for over ten years and survived! Just listen to your body - it knows far better than you.

  • oh dear

    does not sound good


    Why do you think AF comes back? seems that it is pretty combo for AF to come back within say 10 years or much sooner. Do you think it is lifestyle related? Alcohol and caffeine?

  • I don't think anyone knows for sure and it may be different for everyone, no one common cause, Alcohol, caffeine and food triggers some, exercise some, whilst resting others.

    Binge drinking for sure, smoking and drugs as well as poor general diet and lack of exercise is not going to help is it? All known triggers but still has to be a propensity in the first place. Lack of nutrients such as Magnesium, Vit D, Vit A say others. Co-morbidities such as thyroid and diabetes - yes. Who really knows?

    Lifestyle could be a factor for some, I don't think it was a factor for me though. My father had AF and it is known to run in families and in my case I have a dysfunctional autonomic system so I think that the most likely culprit.

  • CDreamer - I have quit alcohol and caffeine but find Nespresso decaf just as tasty as normal and drink 3-4 cups a day with no problems.

  • Hi CDreamer

    I am not sure i know what an AF session is. i need to get some equipment to measure my heart activity. I do feel something (mild discomfort) but it does seem to last very long. But then i feel discomfort with eating. Tired and fuzzy head.

    Seems it is trial and error - as to whether and if so quantities.

    Thanks for your time


  • I have downloaded an app called Heart Rate free. Which is very good and accurate. You put your finger over the light and camera window of your smartphone and it's gives you your Bpm and a sign wave type picture of your heart rhythm. Have checked it out with my doctors kit and it reads exactly the same so a Very useful app.

  • I use this a lot. My EP at Papworth looked at it and dismissed the wave as "just noise" and told me to get a Kardia. I did and use it a lot but I still also use Heart Rate which is quicker. The only drawback I've found is if you are very fast (180+) it can't seem to catch it and the reading can be wrong but the Kardia seems to capture everything.

  • Have found Heart Rate free very easy to use. Others do not connect if you move just slightly. I checked it out against my GP's kit and it was within 1 Bpm accurate so does me fine as a quick check on what is happening.

  • Thanks.

    I had never thought of a DAS.

    My dad was on warfarin but I never knew why.

    Interesting how genes might work

    How many ablations do you think we can have? is there a limit?

    What causes an ablation to fail? and the second? I have heard of three ablations? what four and five?

    Thanks for your time


  • I have had 6 ablations.

    Last one 2 ½ weeks ago early days but so far so good but I no longer drink alcohol removing a known trigger (not that it particularly was a trigger for me.

  • Not had as many ablations as Pete, only 3 but I still have AF. Artificial sweeteners, alcohol and additives are triggers for me. Avoid them all now but I still get attacks of PAF which can last for weeks or months.

    At the top right hand corner of this page there's a search box, if you type alcohol or caffeine into it then it will throw up older posts related to this subject.


  • Thx for the top right hand corner advice.


  • I have a form of SVT. Caffeine does not effect me at all, but alcohol if a trigger

  • I agree that we are all different.

    In my case, having collapsed a couple of times, a heart monitor was inserted and I was diagnosed with PAF, possibly associated with Ibrutinib used to control my chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

    My haematogist advised 150 mg aspirin daily, not as an anti coagulant, but to reduce the sticky platelets.

    Since then, the New Year, I have been on a healthy eating routine, cut out alcohol and increased both exercise and resistance exercises. Having said that I have only lost a stone (7 kgs) in weight of the 3 stones I need to lose to get me down to a 'healthy' 10 stones for my 5'9" height.

    For me the effects have been quite remarkable with no episodes of PAF since mid January.


  • I have at least two large coffee every morning with no effect I also still drink beer mid strength 3.5% here in Australia and the occasional half bottle of wine with no effect at all so we are all different


  • There are no proposed limits for alcohol or caffeine. Everybody is different, it only takes one mouthfull of fizzy wine and I immediately go into AF but I can have a Baileys at Christmas. I can also dring a couple of cups of ground coffee a day with no problem. I gave up alcohol 4 years ago when I was diagnosed as AF makes me feel rotten and its jut not worth it, however, there are a few people on here who still have a glass or two of wine and are perfectly ok. Its trial and error I'm afraid. Hope this helps.

  • I have had AF for the past six years,two Ablations Two Cardiversions ,Alcohol has been the trigger for me ,so no Alcohol for the past eight months ,and decaffe coffee and tea to be on the safe side ,but still had a bad attack last week in Hospital for three days ,that's after my second Ablation which was carried out six months ago.

  • oh dear does not sound good

    hope things work out for you


  • I used to be a regular drinker but decided to go tee-total a few years back and feel better for it. Any alcohol makes my AF worse.

    I also went over to decaf coffee and tea. But bear in mind that I drink probably 10-15 cups a day. A few of those can be caffinated and it doesn't seem to bother me. And I deliberately drink caffinated coffee prior to a round of golf or cycling/hiking.


  • I used to love my wine but when I started with pAF i suddenly found that the wine tasted awful and it has remained that way ever since l really don't miss it now or want it.

  • Interesting to read all these comments. I drink decaf now as 'real' coffee was definitely a trigger for my PAF and things were great, however 15 months down the line having had breast cancer, surgery and radiotherapy, I'm now having episodes virtually every day. The other evening I had a glass of lovely prosecco, a mothers day gift from my son and whoosh....into an episode which lasted for a few hours. I actually took an extra 50mg of my flecainide and went to bed....and just hoped it would settle. It did eventually.

    Now last night I had a glass of the fizz and I was fine........

    It's so confusing trying to find what triggers it for individuals. Trial and error I guess but scary knowing whatever you try may kick of the troublesome beating!!

    Stay well everyone,

    Blue :-) x

  • In life we need to make choices and it seems in your case it is between alcohol and coffee and a possibility of reduced episodes of AF. For may people (I was one till ablation) even a sniff of alcohol or even in cooking would set me off so I decided I needed NSR rather more than alcohol. Never been much of a coffee drinker since my student days (poisoned myself with constant black coffee) but I drink decaff tea as it tastes fine and removes one more risk.

    Many people find that life style changes to diet etc have a beneficial effect on the amount or severity of episodes they get and for sure these changes can be good in other ways. Even at my advanced age I have recently changed my diet somewhat and now eat far more fish such as smoked haddock, lemon sole. salmon etc., more vegetarian meals and maybe meat only once or twice a week and found that in less than two months I have lost a much needed half stone without thinking about it. I can even get into the suits I had before I retired.

    Only you can decide on your priorities Blaine but in my humble opinion if one is asking the medical profession for help in a condition one does need to help oneself as well so if these things do trigger your AF then experiment at the very least and see what happens.

  • I accept the point. It is probably the saddest day of my life-:(

    Thanks for the time.


  • hi there,

    Just found this comment so thought I would add my tuppence worth. I gave up 'real' coffee almost 2 years ago and only drink decaff and maybe twice a day if that. As for the alcohol, my intake of that is very once in a while as in weeks and weeks can go by without anything. I'm vegetarian and so eat lots of what's considered 'healthy' foods.

    It's a bit of a mystery to me right now and I really am beginning to wonder if this is all because the cancer drug I have to take is knocking my AF meds off kilter!

    stay well,

    Blue :-) x

  • 4 ablations, latest one in January has really improved things so now I rarely get any symptoms twice since the op. A success as far as I'm concerned regarding Alcohol at 48 I'm not ready to give up something I enjoy just yet. I found red wine can cause me issues unfortunately but I haven't tried any since my last ablation but regular beer/lager around the 4% mark is fine. I also think the dehydration caused by too much alcohol can be the bigger problem so always make sure I drink plenty of water after a night out with mates. Every one is different and you need to find the right balance for you between living your life as you want and managing your symptoms. Good luck

  • Thanks for this.

    I am more of a wine with dinner person.

    So probably best to reduce intake and see if that helps.

    Hope so.



  • I found drinking 1 glass of water for every 1 glass of wine helps.

  • Alcohol is a definite trigger for me, so it had to go - wasn't easy at first, especially when socialising, but - AF attacks or alcohol? No contest there.

    I treat caffeine with care - 1 strong, freshly ground in the morning and decaf for the rest of the day and that seems to work for me.

    It's a matter of choice, balance and experimentation - best wishes with it.

  • I have no problem with alcohol or caffeine, although I'm not a heavy alcohol drinker - a bottle of wine a week some weeks, none other weeks. The odd beer also. I believe my triggers include something else in coffee / decaff coffee, and soya. I've not had any coffee for 9 years, but drink tea daily and cola sometimes. I've not had any soya based products for about six years. My AF episodes are now few and short-lived (1 or 2 a year) as long as I take my Flecainide regularly (150mg x 2 a day). If I forget to take it every 12 hours, give or take 2 hours, my AF comes back. I've not had any ablations as the Flecainide usually works.

  • Hi

    interesting - a drugs only approach. So far this has not been discussed with me as a possibility.



  • Not had ablations either, controlled with Flecainide 100mg twice a day, 150mg Dabigatran anticoagulant twice a day. Plus low dose BP tablet and low dose statin. Had two cardioversions in the early days while getting the medication levels sorted. Carry Flecainide with me as can take extra if needed.

  • Inlove my wine but I have had to reduce my intake to a couple of glasses. (5oz) each. I find that I can enjoy that amount without any adverse effects. I dont drink anything with cafeine. I try to avoid artificial additives. I had 3 ablations in 2015 and no repeat episodes of AF since then. Its really down to how individual people react to different things.

    Best wishes


  • Hi C

    So there might be hope. Thanks.

    I am meeting an EP today.



  • Neither alcohol nor coffee being on my symptoms only iced drinks and lying down especially after eating. I have however cut down on both in the process of leading a healthier lifestyle, losing weight and lowering my BP. My aim is to lower the chances of developing the comorbidities that go along afib which current thinking is what increases your risk of stroke rather than trying to prevent afib itself.

  • Sadly yes. Much to my disgust. You need to keep them very much at a minimum

  • My EP advised no alcohol. No one mentioned caffeine but I cut it back to 2 cups of coffee in the mornings. So far Im doing great , switched to pill in pocket and havent had any a fib in 7 mo, hoping it continues.

  • Just before my first cardio-version, my cardiologist leaned down and said " remember those lifestyle changes we spoke about, JT?" So after getting zapped, I quit drinking for almost 3 years, and yet still had no noticeable reduction in episodes. I went off on a golf trip with the lads and slid back to drinking fairly heavily on weekends. You have to do what you enjoy, and cope with the results. My AF episodes now are of short duration 2-3 hours and are certainly tolerable. Should one strike while at the bar " another beer please" is my likely response.

  • Alcohol sets mine off. I can do small amounts of caffeine without trouble. Also, I can have 2 gluten free beers without issues. Gluten is a trigger for my heart too.

  • Of course, you can try giving up every single thing you think may be a trigger, but what kind of life would that be? I drink my coffee every day and have an alcoholic beverage a couple of times a week. I have read that red wine in particular can be a trigger, but I stick with my rum and diet coke and it has never triggered AF for me.

  • And P.S. what sets off my AF one time doesn't necessarily cause it the next time I indulge. Only once did I go into AF after eating Chinese food, but I still eat it at least once a week and it has never triggered it again. I don't believe you can (or should) cut off everything you enjoy in life in the hopes that you won't still have AF -- you will!

  • I have almost given up alcohol, I do have the very occasional half glass of wine or very small G+T and have given up caffeine totally (and Chinese food)

    Aldi decaff tea bags and instant coffee are great, and my sister keeps some nespresso decaf in stock for our visits and that is lovely

    I have an ablation in a couple of weeks, so will be having a last glass of cider a couple of days before :D

  • I have to agree with CDreamer. Your body will tell you what you need to do. I stopped coffee because I was drinking way too much. I only have one caffeine drink per day now. I still drink alcohol. Mostly beer but sometimes I have my fav tipple G&T. I just dont go mad only drink about twice a month. I wont tell you a limit because I dont impose a limit on myself. Your GP will be able to advise

  • I found a couple of pints of medium strength beer two days together gave me some af back after weeks with no problem. Mr Doctor said restrict alcohol to 14 units per week. But find if I drink shandy I do not have a problem. Have had upto three pints of shandy as my Sunday drink with my mates and it gave me no problems.

  • Moderation

    The interesting bit is 14 units per weeks

    I suspect weight and size make a difference



  • I understand 14 units is about 4 pints per week ? I can enjoy just one pint and that is no problem. But if out for the evening I just have couple of pints of shandy which does not give me any problems.

  • I would suggest cutting them all out and see if it makes a difference- it did for me and I don't have any now

  • You sound like a very self disciplined person. Lucky you.



  • No just know effects of AF on me!!

  • understood



  • Hi: I have been converted to normal sinus rhythm which can reverse to Afib at any time. I drink caffeine in the morning and tolerate it fine. I gave up alcohol, except for an occasional half glass of wine. I did this because I know alcohol can have severe interactions with the medications I am taking. Please check with your pharmacist about drug/alcohol interactions.

  • Thanks for engaging

    wrt to alcohol - the EP's seem pretty relaxed as long as it is in moderate quantities. No binge drinking. I think that the issue is that because there is apparently no formal research in this area much depends on the individuals and them listening to their body's. But as a generalisation, drinking in moderation (defined in terms of mg's) is ok. Same i guess is true of caffeine.



  • Interesting question Blaine, Studies and medical conventions have discussed this amongst Doctors/surgeons, I have viewed many on YouTube and the internet. Hospital nurses tell me no caffeine/no alcohol, yet the 2016 medical convention amongst doctors from around the world have said it is still a myth, not proven as far. I will continue to study this very topic and others about the AF/Pauses, it is a very good question. Sleep Apnea is also under close studies, a possible cause of AF/Pauses.

  • dafeydave - Thx. This is very similar to what i was told. cheers . BT

  • I have had 2ablations and have paroxysmal AF.The episodes are less as I understand the triggers more.Alcohol can be a trigger so I limit myself to glass abd half wineand try to drink water but i find that indigestion can be a trigger.I watch Sanjay Gupta from York Cardiology who says that his patients say that they are worst when they have an upset stomache.He explains what vagal AF is and everything he says seems to ring true.Last night I had white wine.I was happy with a large glass but my friend topped it up.Later I had terrible heartburn and AF.I think the wine contributed to AF in that it made the indigestion worse.I hadnt drunk water as I usually do.I got up and walked around and it went off.I have a hiatus hernia and medication to reduce acid in my stomache seemed reduce ectopic beats.So perhaps its not just the alcohol but a combination of that and eating.I always get episodes when I lay on my left side and try to avoid that.

  • Blaine,

    AF and alcohol doesn't mix well together. In my own experience alcohol of any quantity makes it worse. But if you must have one make it one and no more because icon assure you alcohol will effect it.

  • Hi coopo

    I spent an hour with an EP recently and he said there is no substantiated research on this topic and if anything it is very dependent on the individual.

    He said that there was no shortage of opinions / views.

    Seems that our area is desperate for research in loads of different areas.



  • Hi, I was advised by the cardiologist to give up both caffeine and alcohol (not much of a drinker anyway). I do find that both will set off my AF. Alcohol more than caffeine. Don't miss the alcohol as never much of a drinker anyway. And have found that as most places do decaff that it's easy to avoid caffeine too. I've not had an ablation, my AF is controlled by 100mg Flecainide twice a day.

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