How many people find caffeine triggers thei... - AF Association

AF Association
19,271 members23,370 posts

How many people find caffeine triggers their existing arrhythmia?


A bit of a random question, but since my diagnoses of an arrhythmia SVT I have not consumed caffeine (Too Frightened). I am a coffee and cola lover and I absolutely love my americanos, cappuccinos and a good lattee :). I have since only drank decaffeinated ( One a day only!) and I cant say I mind much as it tastes decent.

I am off on a months trip to bali and I will ask for decaff but I am assuming there would be times where I will be served a normal caffeinated coffee due to language barriers or normal barista coffee shop mix ups.

I am just curios at how caffeine affects different people who have arrhythmias, Obviously I am going to consume a caffeinated coffee and see how I go beforehand and ask my cardiologist what he thinks. But I don't feel caffeine was ever a trigger for my arrhythmia.

How does coffee affect your arrhythmias, do you feel its a trigger?

47 Replies

My heart thinks it's the Flying Scotsman after caffeinated coffee with AF 😓

My son has SVT & he can't drink it now either

Maybe you are a lucky person that it doesn't affect

Gosh sorry to hear that, I hope I am indeed one of the lucky people unaffected but knowing my luck I wont lol.

Will soon find out when am brave enough to take the test.


Since my last ablation eight years ago I don't have AF BUT if I have two coffees inside an hour I feel hyper for the rest of the day. I'm not sure it is caffeine though as I used to consume a lot of Red Bull, especially on long cross country drives until my Arrhythmia Nurse found out and read me the riot act. I usually only drink decaff tea at home .

in reply to BobD

Glad to hear your ablation sorted you out!. For some reason before I was diagnosed a coffee made me sleepy rather than hyper, I would often enjoy a strong coffee before bed and it sent me sleeping like a baby. But my cardiologist was telling me off when I walked into his office with a costa hot chocolate in my hand so he put me off anything containing any caffeine lol.

Since I’ve had afib, coffee is something that sends me into afib so obviously I don’t drink it anymore. You might do well by trying caffeine before your trip. I would hate to be away and have a bout of a fib

Yes Think I will do the deed and have myself a little test at home with a coffee and pepsi after, see how I tolerate it. Even if I did not have any episodes will still avoid caffeine, Its a bugga for the heart rate even in people with no arrhythmias at times.

Let us know how it goes :-)

in reply to chevidaniels

I would try the coffee and the pepsi on different days. Too much caffeine and other stimulants is far more likely to set off the AF than just one.

I also love coffee, I drink one a day without any reaction. However, if I drank or ate certain foods on a regular basis swamping my system - it would bite me big time. Moderation is often the key, it might just get you by.

in reply to john6

Nice to hear you can have one a day with no reaction, I agree moderation is the key. I think last time I ate a big cheesy pizza from pizza hut, I ate so much I actually felt my heart pounding all night. I now only have three slices instead of 7 !

in reply to chevidaniels

Oh, another favourite of mine, cheeeeeeese😃. Unfortunately, if I ate more than one slice (sometimes even the one) would set mine off. It is the fat/grease in the cheese and the pastry, that does me 😢

When I was newly diagnosed I read here that caffeine was a trigger for many people with AF so I switched to decaffeinated coffee - and tea. I still drink those two when at home, but now if I go out for a nice meal I will have a 'proper coffee' and it hasn't had an adverse effect - yet! In fact I haven't been able to identify any triggers for my AF episodes.

So …. give a real coffee a go before your trip and see how it goes. And have a wonderful time. Bali ……. how exciting!

Hi Carole,

Sounds like you have got it right by treating yourself to a nice coffee on occasions.

I actually don't mind the taste of decaff at all to be fair, I just sometimes miss the caffeine hit lol. Will give it a go and monitor my pulse, and if all goes well Ii wont have to worry they gave me a real coffee instead of decaff abroad lol. Thanks for your message

I've found I have a sensitive system. Too much caffeine 4+ cups in the AM and more than 2 shots of alcohol at night (found alcohol being Cardio toxic) are not good for me. Seems everyone has different triggers. Mine are stress to induce AF episode.

Alcohol is also something that sets off my arrhythmia, but I normally sleep if off feeling like crap and wake up recovered. Seen as it makes me feel rotten I only have it on special occasions. And stress gosh don't even get me started on that, Its one to get the heart racing.

So, YES, lifestyle and what we ingest can be as strong a deterrent or modifier as medicine. I'd rather deal with it via lifestyle changes than take more pills. :^)

Caffine was more a trigger for migraine for me, since I stopped using it a few years ago my migraines virtually disappeared overnight. I don't think it affected my AF that much but as its a stimulant I would never use it again.

Which decaf coffee do you use please? I'm still looking for a good tasting one! Best of luck with your trip 👌

in reply to djbgatekeeper

Stick maybe to coffees decaffeinated by the water method. Some have caffeine removed by chemicals.

in reply to djbgatekeeper

tesco's GOLD freeze dried decaffinated strength 3(medium). Nice light brown colour. I usually buy the 100g size. No bitter taste.

Lorr decaffe is good Its £6 in Tesco but B and M have it for 3 It's a green strip on the front

sorry to hear that, I know migraines are just so awful and you just want total darkness and silence!. Well I have a little nespresso pod machine, It literally makes me a nice lattee as if it were from Starbucks they are the Arpeggio Decaffeinato and I actually prefer them to the real stuff. If I am really desperate for one and my machine is not close by I use Nescafe Azera Americano Decaffeinated Instant, Its in Tesco and all the rest and its nice and creamy.

Thanks for your reply, you sound like a coffee aficionado! Keep well 👍

I drink about 4 cups of tea in the morning......probably keeps the afib more active but i like the tea

in reply to Spiritji

Ditto, but I just have one small pot. It is brewing as I write. 😀

Thereafter I avoid both caff and decaff and stick to caffeine free redbush / rooibos and peppermint.

Cant go wrong with a nice cup of tea!

I have no problem with caffeine. My problems come from coffee. I've not had a coffee for 10 years.

in reply to Thomas45

Interesting Thomas45. I have a friend who is allergic to the oil of the coffee bean. Caffeine is not a problem, but coffee is! She's the only person I've ever know to be allergic to coffee. :-)

When first I got AF i stopped taking tea or coffee unless decaff. Gradually I went back to them never seemed to be a trigger.

Good to hear that, Suppose we all act with caution in the beginning.

in reply to KMRobbo

My experience was similar. I stopped caffeine completely after SVT diagnosis, but gradually reintroduced (1 good cup of coffee in the morning is all I generally care for) with no adverse effect I can notice. Alcohol is much more of an obvious trigger for me.

in reply to torwell

I did similar with beer and wine and went on the wagon and stopped for ages. Then I restarted and at the next Christmas fell right off the wagon going round liverpool. No effect.

I have never found my triggers, only one I still have in the frame is stress, but i don't understand why, as I have had a much more stressful past than I have had the last 5 years and I only developed afib 3 years ago. Unless of course it is some sort of cumulative problem and I have already burned my candle out?

I'm obviously not typical here, but so far coffee has not had any detrimental effect on me. I have at least one very strong real coffee every morning, and sometimes one or two more through the day. I also enjoy alcohol without constraints (other than those imposed by my advancing years), and with no ill effect on my AF.

We are all different!

in reply to momist

I don't have a problem with alcohol either.

in reply to momist

That's good to know, I don't mind decaff here in the uk myself but when abroad I am excited to try there strong coffee :). Gosh I wish I could tolerate alcohol I am only 27 and 2 ciders send me into an episode! Luky you

I never thought it did until I looked into it, and I looked at how much I drank back in 2013 when I first started on this road.

I used to work 2 12.5 hour days together, and before that a 9pm finish with a 7am start. I regularly drank 4/5 energy drinks a week, and my hot drink of choice was always a strong cup of tea. My soft drink of choice was always full fat coke and I always had one or 2 ciders on a Wednesday night work permitting when I was out at a pub quiz.

Now, I don't touch energy drinks. I only drink decaff tea and only a couple a day. I drink a lot more squash and /or lemonade for some fizz. In the last 10 months I've had 2 pints of cider 2 weeks apart in September, a glass of Bucks Fizz in July and some wine with a Wedding meal in June. So little that I can remember each one.

When I have drunk it caffeine (or booze) I can tell. I have this heightened awareness of my heart rate, akin to feeling "full" with indigestion and I notice a subtle inscrease in my resting rate as I would if I was dehydrated.

I can't say for certain caffeine is one of the main causes of my AF, as it still happened with regularity despite cutting down/out.... but it's certainly got to be better doing what I'm doing now than how I was before.

Gosh that's a great improvement to cut out all the energy drinks and coke, I was also similar drinking lots of full fat coke and strong coffee. Since my diagnoses I will have squash or orange juice and avoid any alcohol. I don't know if its made a difference but I just wanted to avoid any possible triggers as my cardiologist was lecturing me about caffeine. I can understand all those energy drinks in your situation that's a bloody long days work !

I just tend to get lectured about my weight now.....

No. I have never found that coffee has been a trigger for AF episodes. However, excess coffee can give me slight palpations but I do not find this a significant concern. The real trigger risk for me, with every eposode that I can remember, is very cold food (ice cream, sorbet) and particularly ice cold drinks (even plain water).

Good to hear that its not a trigger for you, how strange for the cold foods to trigger. I love an ice cold drink even in freezing temperature's outside. My only known trigger so far is pizza hut cheese, No idea what's in the stuff!

I limit myself to 2 cups of caffeinated coffee a day and only in the morning. It does make my palpitations worse than if I don't have caffeine, but not anything I can't tolerate. I do not drink any other caffeinated beverages and stopped drinking dark sodas about 13 years ago. I don't miss them. I have, however, recently bought decaf coffee and some teas I like, to -TRY- to transition to even less caffeine. I have decreased my meds and this is a step to help me keep my dosage low. We'll see. I love coffee in the morning!

wow great you gave up fizzy drinks, I have given them up for about a year and I do miss them. I often eye up the cans of cokes in the shop fridges and day dream about popping one open lol. I guess you get used to cutting things out eventually and forget about them.

I was very worried about drinking coffee but I have since found that drinking two cups a day does not affect me. I mix 1/3 decaf beans with 2/3 caffeinated beans, but once in awhile I have a fully caffeinated coffee and I don't find it triggers afib for me.

Good news its not a trigger for you, I suppose everyone is a bit worried in the beginning. I would more than likely drink the caffeinated coffee and worry so much that I trigger it myself though stress lol.

I still have an occasional fizzy drink! Just not dark caffeinated ones.

I was diagnosed in late april with afib. I drank a small amount of caffeine at the time. Then in may, I had a cup of soda and it sent me into afib and a four day trip to the hospital. Had to be cardioverted. Some people it affects. Others not so much. Def try before going on an extended trip.

You may also like...