Is it safe to have a couple of glasses of w... - AF Association

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Is it safe to have a couple of glasses of wine?


Hi everyone, I was diagnosed last year with Afib, my highest reading being 170 beats per minute.

I am on Bisoprolol and Apixaban, which so far have kept me well controlled. I have never been a big drinker and haven't touched a drop since diagnosis.

My question is, would it be safe to have a couple of glasses of wine when we can have friends round again, or would it be best to avoid altogether.

I am so frightened of ending up in A and E again, not a pleasant experience to say the least and certainly not while Covid is lurking.

Thank you, Jenny x

21 Replies

Oh I wish! Having shares in a vineyard and not being able to sample my product is a real pain. Even tasting in the appoved manner could set me off on a bad day. Others may not have a problem so only you can tell if you are brave. Trouble is it may not happen every time as I found the hard way. Several weeks one summer with no problem and then bam bam bam bam. and off she went. Hardly worth it. Scillian lemonade is lovely on a hot evening.

CDreamer in reply to BobD

And I react to any sugary drink, Koombucha is very pleasant though and very on trend 😀🥂

I too have been on Apixaban and Bisoprolol for over 3 years now and they seem to control my AF pretty well. I do have a gin and tonic most evenings and it doesn’t affect me adversely BUT on the odd occasion I then have a glass of wine to accompany my dinner the effect is not good and the racing starts! So I have learnt to be a ‘ modest’ drinker as I know what the result can be if I’m not!

Depends how you react. I now can, 2 years ago the merest sip would cause me to flip into AF but I still need to be very careful and can’t tolerate any red wine. Many of the cheap wines still upset me but for some reason I can drink a good champagne with impunity! I never was a cheap date!.

Some suggest that it is the additives and the sulphides in some wines so I now stick to local wines which I know have been unadulterated and the occasional glass (once a week?) seems to be OK.

If you are sensitive to the sulphides in wine, then it’s probably not a good idea. I was someone who loved wine but even half a glass set my heart off and the only way you will know for sure is to try it and risk the outcome.

My brilliant idea was to drink de-alcoholised wine but it had the same eventual outcome which led me to think that my culprit was the sulphides, rather than the alcohol itself.

Depends on your definition of 'dangerous' I suppose. :) Everyone is different, and I kept on drinking at first. I would go to beer festivals and over indulge, taking a glass of water for each glass of beer. That worked for a time. Then later, I found that even one bottle of beer when hot and bothered would set me off into AF.

I don't regard my AF as very dangerous. I only ever went to A&E the first time, and the experience was both so awful and the result so useless that I have never tried it again. I usually sleep it off that night, or else sit and try to get absorbed in something on TV to keep me calm and distracted.

So, I still have the occasional glass of wine, or two, when we have dinner guests and at the weekend (otherwise Sunday would have no other difference!). I still have the occasional AF session, although since lockdown I've not had any (go figure!). Experiment, be brave, live a little. AF is not the end of your life, just a problem to endure.

I don't think there's any harm in moderate drinking. The harm only comes with excessive amounts, e.g. 5 or more drinks a day. A recent report from Oz showed that mild drinking (one or two drinks a week) actually reduced AF and moderate drinking had no impact. But everyone is different, some will react to just one glass.

Do you need to go to A&E if you get a bout of AF? Most people just ride it out at home. That would reduce your stress.

Hi, I think the only way to find out is to try. Not when you are anxious about it, you may find yourself more aware of every heartbeat. I have been determined not to have to give up one of the pleasures of life. A fine meal is not the same without a glass of wine. Yes it does sometimes bring on extra beats but I try to breath slowly and relax. Take plenty of water with it. For the first couple of years after diagnosis I could drink whatever I wanted but it has become harder to tolerate wine. I can drink a few bottles of lager without problem but only a couple of glasses of wine. I did have more on Boxing Day and woke up on my left side with AF the following morning. I dont plan to give up till I have to. I know seven people with AF and they all drink more than me apart from one who abstains. Good luck.

I seem to be OK with wine as long as I dont cane it, but spirits can set me off especially raki

I’ve recently discovered that I can have a couple of glasses of Prosecco during a long evening. Also occasionally I can have a gin and tonic. I don’t know whether it was coincidence, but last September/October we finally went on a cruise and I built up to a couple of gin and tonics with lots of ice during the day, sometimes a pina colada pre-dinner and a Prosecco during dinner. Just during the holiday then went back to normal of nothing just maybe warm water in a wine glass. I was fine all the time on holiday, but a month later I was admitted to hospital twice and the second time an emergency cardioversion. Coincidence or alcohol???? But a month later?????? Good luck and I do appreciate it’s hard to stay on an orange squash or whatever when you see friends getting more mellow and happy on their wine or whatever. Everything in moderation although in my circumstances it had been sooooo long since we had had a holiday I was excited.

I was diagnosed with AF in Jan 2010. I was admitted to hospital for several days and discharged, appropriately medicated. Warfarin and Bisoprolol. I have made no concessions with either food or alcohol since then, especially with Warfarin. I still eat the forbidden veggies and drink wine, beer and spirits as the mood takes me. The key to whatever you do is consistency and small quantities, consistency is especially important with Warfarin in your diet. Give it a go and see.


I too seem to be ok with moderate amounts of alcohol including wine. So I think it depends on the individual. For some it’s a trigger for others not. Only way is to try it and see.

I have one small glass of wine with my main meal at home. If we eat out we share a half bottle but often do not finish it. I find my attacks are more connected to eating rather than alcohol as I have had them come on after breakfast or a lunch consisting of cheese on toast and a banana! Giving up my glass with dinner is a real deprivation for me though I don't have it if actually in afib.

It’s very much an individual matter. A consultant told me that he didn’t think “light drinking” (without defining “light drinking”) would do much harm in my case. I have a maximum of two drinks at a sitting and leave days between- so about 8 units a week. I haven’t drunk anything during lockdown because I wanted to err on the side of caution. Possibly just try a single drink and see what, if anything, happens. Bear in mind any reaction may not be for some time (alcohol remains in the system for about 10 hours). I would suggest avoiding very cold drinks. Wine is better than beer as it is less likely to cause indigestion, belching etc. and therefore less likely to cause AF to start up.

I like you are doing my best to avoid ending up in A & E with an episode of AF that I have not been able to remedy with PIP.

As I know alcohol can be a trigger I haven’t touched a drop for 4 years even though like Bob I would really like to enjoy a pint, a glass of wine or a G&T.

I would not bother if I were you.


not worth the risk!!

My cardiologist told me less alcohol is good no alcohol is better. I live in California wine country (Sonoma). I drove by 3-4 wineries on my commute to Napa every day. This area has also gone through an explosion of craft breweries.

I used to have a beer and large wine every day after work. Unfortunately or maybe luckily for me I have had a couple of episodes of AF and a serious TIA.

So now I limit myself to 6oz of wine max spread over the week. I keep the bottle in the refrigerator, and it lasts a month+. I smell and sip it like I was at a wine tasting and spread it out. I never drink that small amount 2 days in a row and often go all week with none. In the olden days, when it was safe to go out, if I had a drink I would sip and leave most of it. Otherwise I would have a sparkling soda with a lime.

It seems to be working. I now mostly drink non alcohol beer. It has taken a long time to adjust to the taste but I am there. The great side effect is it is easier to keep the weight off with less calories.

I would start with half a glass and work up.

I am PAF on apixoban and have been for several years.

I enjoy my red wine and have a couple of glasses each evening over a weekend Fri to Sunday and occasionally in the middle of the week depending on what’s going on.

I agree with someone who wrote that their problem was not with alcohol but food. I avoid heavy meals as that can set my AF off.

I don’t have a problem with coffee either and drink two cups each morning.

As we say. Everyone is different.

Stay well

There is no hard rule for everyone. Personally I can't touch a drop.

Hi everyone, thank you for answering my Question. I have decided to give my glass of wine a miss. I don't fancy having another attack just for the sake of a glass of wine when I haven't had any for nearly a year anyway.

Thank s again, Jenny x

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