Coffee doesn’t seem to affect heart attack deaths

Coffee drinkers probably don’t have to worry that they might not fare well if they have a heart attack. Self-reported coffee consumption does not appear to affect the risk of dying after a heart attack, researchers have found.

Previous studies have generally suggested no ill-effect of coffee on the risk of having a heart attack, Dr. Kenneth J. Mukamal, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, and colleagues explain in the American Heart Journal. “The effect of coffee consumption on prognosis after (a heart attack) is uncertain.”

The investigators examined the effects of both caffeinated coffee and cola consumption on death rates in 1935 patients hospitalized with a heart attack between 1989 and 1994. Interviewers assessed how much of these beverages they drank before their attack.

Data on coffee and cola intake were available for 1902 patients. Of these, 315 died during an average follow-up of 3.8 years. Of the 315 deaths, 235 were due to cardiovascular disease.

Coffee drinkers tended to be younger, male, and free of non-cardiac illnesses, which worked in their favor. However, coffee drinkers were also more likely to be smokers.

Overall, no association was observed between coffee consumption and any overall change in long-term mortality rates after the heart attack.

Mukamal’s team did, however, observe an “unexpected and unexplained” relationship between coffee consumption and mortality. Specifically, in the first 3 months coffee drinkers actually had a lower death rate, but thereafter the pattern reversed so that the two trends canceled out over time.

The researchers say this needs further exploration.

Meanwhile, they say, “Our findings are consistent with current American Heart Association dietary guideline, which do not specifically advise for or against consumption of coffee and other caffeinated beverages.”

SOURCE: American Heart Journal, June 2004.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: July 3, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD