Caffeine and Alcohol: When I was diagnosed... - AF Association

AF Association

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Caffeine and Alcohol


When I was diagnosed with AF in February at Kings Lynn AEC , I was treated and sent home with no option of a follow-up appointment to see a cardiologist so the doctor done his best to help me. One question I have is when he told me I should have no caffeine or alcohol ever again, is that a rule that others on here have been told after diagnosis and do you stick to it strictly because there seems conflicting information on the internet

32 Replies

Hi Paul,

My personal experience does not suggest total abstinence. While I was suffering from AF, coffee was replaced by decaffeinated beverages, Moderate intake of alcohol, now and then, did not seem to aggravate the condition.

Observing your heart reactions may be the best guide.

Best wishes


tnohnsons in reply to Globe-J

Do you still have AF?

Globe-J in reply to tnohnsons

No, I do not - a result of Maze Procedure. I elected an open heart surgery, solely for the purpose of getting rid of the pest. A fairly major intervention, not without risks. Furthermore, around 10% of these surgeries fail too.

My research suggested that a good surgeon, working directly on the heart, has the best chance.

In my case, the gamble paid off. I have been AF free for about four years. No medication either, and back to running (-:

A caveat, I was fit, healthy and free of any other medical conditions.

Best wishes


The general thinking is that both alcohol and caffeine should be avoided because they are stimulants which can have a detrimental affect on the heart and the forum tries to encourage folk to do just that. That said, the first AF patients day I attended in 2014, one of the speakers said there was no real evidence that caffeine is bad for AF. I share a glass of lager most evenings with our dinner and have been known to occasionally have a glass of wine with no obvious ill effect. I drink decaf coffee at home but not always when out. I guess if you drink either and you suffer then the solution is obvious but abstinence is best......

Bambi65 in reply to FlapJack

Totally agree with you. In fact I had a few at that conference. I do notice that moderation is key. My body will not tolerate hard alcohol, rum, etc. but a beer has no effect.

FlapJack in reply to Bambi65

Yeah, I remember you staggering back singing cowboy songs 🤠😂🤠


I think generally if people are affected by these things then they would be stupid to ignore the advice but a few people are lucky enough not to have them as triggers. From my point of view I am happy to drink de caf tea and soft drinks despite having shares in a vinyard! I do agree that in the old world pre covid one did tend to sit and wonder why everybody else in the room was behaving so oddly but then I was also always designated

Wow - that's harsh! At diagnosis I was told that a glass of wine would be OK - caffeine wasn't mentioned. However, after a holter monitor trace was examined I was warned by cardiologist, GP and in a phone call from the clinic to avoid alcohol! I worried more about why than how so I suppose it depends on your circumstances.

I'm now a teetotaller unfortunately but I drink one very strong coffee each day - decaf tea for the rest.

Remember we are all different and the only way you will know for sure what suits you is by trial and error. One point, have you still not seen a cardiologist for tests such as a holter monitor, echocardiogram and stress test etc? If not, perhaps your GP can help.

Paul0208 in reply to Finvola

Hi. My GP told me he wouldn't refer me to see a specialist as the anxiety I was feeling about my heart and its pounding and uneven rhythm was a result of my anxiety about AF and not the condition doing it so I got really confused and went downhill emotionally and physically for quite a few weeks

Finvola in reply to Paul0208

I know exactly what you mean about the anxiety which AF causes - mine always was at its worst at 4am. It takes quite an effort to get on top of the worry as it causes heart irregularities which cause more anxiety and so on. I hope you can find a good way through it - I use two mantras - on good days I think 'today I can ....' and on less good days 'this too shall pass ....'.

Bambi65 in reply to Paul0208

About the anxiety... the best advise I was given early on with my afib (my hr was 140+) was "Afib will not kill you, even though sometimes it "feels" like it might"

Knowing that gave me lots of peace and when I get afib, I carry on as if nothing was different. Im usually in Afib 2-3x a week, and some months I can go 10+ days without any. No rhyme or reason that I can come up with over the last 5 years.

My mantras has been; Yes, Afib and I do share my body, but... I control the head.

so relax as best you can and dont allow afib to control you.

cuore in reply to Paul0208

Sad! Sad, that your GP is blaming you solely for what AF does to the body. Your GP's refusal to send you to a specialist, preferably to an EP, is unconscionable. That happened to me and I ended up having to have three ablations where I feel I could have had to have just one. Try to get to another GP for a second opinion and referral.

As for the coffee and alcohol, someone posted a link to a site that discussed the genetic make-up (our genes) whether we can imbibe coffee and alcohol when we get AF. I don't remember whether I saved it.

In my experience in France where I had my ablations, the first EP asked why is it a trigger for you when I asked the question? She implied I could have it if it was not a trigger. The second GP who did my third ablation said not to have any wine for a month when I asked if I could have any. So, currently, I drink a cup of coffee in the morning and very occasionally another cup during the day. I generally don't drink alcohol anymore, but if I have some wine I make sure I have a chaser of water with it. In no way can I drink like I did before where I used wine to de-stress. Those days are gone.

Paul0208 in reply to cuore

Thank you for the comment

I drink decaf coffee (I only have coffee occasionally when I go out). I drink regular tea but will only 1-2 cups a day and drink herbal tea later in the day/evening.

My cardiologist said a couple of alcoholic drinks per week is fine so sometimes I’ll have a small glass of wine when we go out to dinner or for a special occasion. I’ll often go months without any alcohol. My go to drink most days around 5.00 is a can of Kombucha.

Everyone is different and reacts differently so you have to get to know your body and what works and doesn’t work for you, and be guided by your doctor.

Cheers 🥂🍻🍷🍺☕️😉

I usually avoided caffeine before my AF diagnosis, but can have decaf and 1 ounce of dark chocolate now with no problems. A sip or two of alcohol is also fine for me, but any more than that causes me to have ectopics. I also avoid artificial sweeteners and MSG, both have brought me to AF. Everyone is different.

We are all different for me alcohol is not a trigger red meat and lifting heavy stuff are my nemesis. I say are but I may be wrong... 1 week after ablation 2 I am in nsr and have been for the whole week! The first drink I got post procedure was coffee .... caffeinated coffee!😀

Hi, I have found alcohol a difficult one to give up but have cut it down to a couple of bottled beers and a spritzer. I used to have a few more than this but found that I might have fast AF sometimes the following day. I have a few male friends with AF who say that alcohol doesn't affect them and they carry on drinking. I think you have to find out what you can and can't do by trying it out. It is one of life's pleasures when you are socialising or enjoying a meal out. All the best.

Bambi65 in reply to Leechg

Very good advise!!!! Right on

I'm more concerned that you have a diagnosis of AFib with no follow up with a cardiologist or Electrophysiologist to be honest.Can you speak to your GP and ask for a referral?

As you say the doctor at the hospital is not an expert in heart conditions!

As far as stimulants are concerned,some people like me can drink good quality wine or cider in moderation ,but I find caffeine is not good for me .

Paul0208 in reply to wilsond

Thank you. That was back in February now, so I presume they definitely won't be interested now especially as I have had no more episodes (that I know of )

As has been said we are all different. You have to find out your triggers by trial and error. A few years ago, my cardiologist told me that if I wanted to drink alcohol, to take an extra small dose of my beta blocker. It didn’t work for me, I still got AF so I have not drunk even a drop of alcohol for nearly 8 years now. I only drink decaf tea and coffee and quite honestly, I can’t tell the difference from caffeinated drinks.

So both alcohol and caffeine are triggers for me.

In reply I can say I live In Letchworth North Herts .I have had a Wonderful care program over

the last 2 and half years.

The NHS are amazing I’ve been contacted

all the time sometimes Daily

I have 6 Nurses on call and will answer

any time you call . Based at Lister Hospital

Stevenage also QE11 at Welwyn.

They had me visit Dr V Karmedies a director at Royal Brompton Chelsea.

He carried out Cardio Ablation on 9 th

November 20.

They are all in constant contact with me

had 3 different calls yesterday regarding

My progress And new follow up appointments .

I have an ultrasound appointment tomorrow.

I think all NHS departments have worked

beyond the pale .

I am 80 and have not really been

unwell just really annoying at times.

Regards All

Come back

John Lliyd

Tapanac in reply to Seventy9

Wow your hospital is good

Seventy9 in reply to Seventy9

Remember I believe you can choose whichHospital in the NHS you can go too


It depends if it affects you. Makes no difference to me but others are badly affected.

Before my AF became permanent, (and since) I have no problems with caffeine, but I do with coffee, not the caffeine in it but something else. I have always been able to drink caffeinated tea and cola without any effect. Alcohol is not a trigger either, although I don't drink much.

I have been treated for AF, both caffeine and alcohol used to be trigger AF for me so I abstained for about 10 years but I now take both in moderation - half a glass of white wine once a week, red upsets my system generally, and allow myself 2 squares of dark chocolate and 1 coffee per day with no ill affects.

Everyone reacts very differently and some seem to be able to have both with impunity whilst others end up in A&E after sniffing the substances.

One thing for sure - binge drinking is the worst so do abstain from that.

HiI had my 2nd (obvious to me) episode of AF a month ago. I woke up at 4 am with the heavy feeling in my chest and a fast heart rate( just the same as my 1st episode 15yrs earlier) both of which whilst under great stresses in life. I was rushed to hospital after becoming concerned at my phone app telling me that I had 45 bpm After a long call to 101 an ambulance was sent out to me. Paramedics laughed when they asked why I was concerned.... I don't have a 45 bmp heart rate ...the phone apps are rubbish apparently... my heart rate was 200 to 208 so I was hurried off into an ambulance. After lots of meds my heart rate turned to a normal rhythm of its own accord after falling asleep a good 24 hrs after it started. . I was.discharged with 2.5 mg bisoprodol (and anticoagulants that I requested) but felt awful and stopped both after weaning off the bisoprodol. Have since chased up the hospital and gp to try and be seen and get advice. I dont want to feel drugged and numb and have such poor and painful mobility just from taking meds that I didnt take after my first episode for 15yrs. I joined this group and its been such a reassurance to see that I'm not totally alone with all of this. So still trying to get a consultant to ask questions and reassurance. I want to know I'm ok taking nothing or at least have a pill in the pocket back up.

I was told also about reducing caffeine and alcohol. Have still been drinking my tea and had a couple of alcohol drinks and been ok but taking great caution.. But its reassurance from a consultant thats needed. Good luck with getting to see a consultant and I hope that all of your questions get answered too.

Hi PaulI suspect the NHS is turning into a health emergency service in some areas. I don't like saying this but you may wish to consider paying for a private appointment to see an EP regarding the possibility of an ablation.

Your Dr should know the best one to see in your locality and it will probably cost you about £200. He/she should be able to clarify what is going on and what treatment options are open to you. You can then join the normal waiting list for treatment on the NHS.

While you are waiting you can address any lifestyle issues, weight, daily exercise, healthy diet, waist size, etc.

I can drink coffee quite happily, thank goodness as I think I have a bit of a coffee addiction. However, alcohol is a no no! I can drink half a glass of white wine with no effect, but I mostly avoid all alcohol. I take a calcium channel blocker, verapamil, and missing a dose can sometimes mean AF makes an unwelcome appearance. Sometimes bending over has the same effect. We are all different, you have to find your triggers. Good luck!

Think we r all different, so there’s bound to be a variety of responses.I try and stick to non caf tea but I don’t seem to be affected if I have normal tea out, so I don’t know, for alcohol, I do have a couple of glasses of wine or beers and I’m not affected . Funny my cardio said avoid white wine, don’t know why he said white. I do have red wine , Guess u have to see for yourself, see how it goes.

I was taken into hospital with heart jumping everywhere kept in overnight said I had afib I had drunk bacardi and coke the night before which was my regular drink so don't drink it anymore but I've had a few beers and that hasn't done anything so I think a few beers would be OK but everyone is different

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