Holiday heart syndrome is a clinical entity characterized by the development of cardiac arrhythmias associated with binge drinking and excessive alcohol consumption. The condition is transient and resolves spontaneously after abstinence from alcohol. The diagnosis can be made only after confirming a recent history of heavy alcohol drinking while physical examination and electrocardiography are used to diagnose cardiac arrhythmias.
Holiday heart syndrome (HHS) was initially described in the late 1970s in individuals who consumed excessive amounts of alcohol during the holiday seasons and weekends (either on a regular basis or "binge" drinkers) and developed various forms of cardiac arrhythmias   . Scarce reports exist on the topic, but studies have determined that individuals who consume > 60 grams (or even > 36 grams) of pure ethanol/day are at a significant risk for atrial fibrillation (AF), the principal arrhythmia seen in patients with HHS   . The exact pathogenesis remains to be elucidated, but sudden intake of large amounts of alcohol seems to reduce the refractory period of the right atrium, impair vagal tone and promote conduction blocks . When AF is present, patients can complain of dyspnea, palpitations, presyncope, weakness, light-headedness and fatigue . In some individuals, an association between alcohol consumption and heart failure has been made, which is supported by the confirmed ability of alcohol to induce oxidative stress, electrolyte imbalance, scarring of the cardiac tissue and a negative inotropic effect by disrupting the activity of calcium channels  . Heart failure, however, is more commonly related to chronic alcohol abuse, whereas HHS is an acute deterioration resulting from excessive amount of intake over a short period of time.
Entire Body System
- Heart Disease
Keywords: Holiday Heart Syndrome, alcohol misuse, coronary heart disease, alcohol cessation, arrhythmias eISSN: print ISSN: 2141-9884 [ajol.info]
Although many of the patients have underlying heart disease, there are reports of patients with no evident heart disease where acute alcohol injestion has caused arrhythmias. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
#5 Holiday heart syndrome Holiday heart syndrome The term “holiday heart” is viewed with disfavor. Holiday heart syndrome consists of cardiac arrhythmias due to an acute ingestion of alcohol in patients without heart disease. [aapc.com]
If you have previously suffered a heart attack or have heart disease, you should avoid shoveling snow and other types of outdoor exertion, particularly if you are out of shape and haven’t been exercising regularly. [healthcarenews.com]
Most cases of Holiday Heart start as "paroxysmal atrial fibrillation," the Heart Disease column from About.com explains. That is an atrial fibrillation that starts suddenly, and after a time, stops just as suddenly. [blog.partnersforyourhealth.com]
As HHS is a syndrome related to binge drinking during the holidays or weekends, a detailed patient history is essential to point towards the diagnosis. A recent history of consumption of large amounts of alcohol or attending some events or celebrations can provide an inital clue, while physical examination can confirm alcohol intoxication and arrhythmias. Alcohol in the patient's breath and irregular pulses may be often encountered . A heterogeneous anamnesis from friends or family members is favorable if the patient is not competent to provide adequate data, or if patients deny alcohol consumption. If signs of cardiac conduction abnormalities are present, electrocardiography (ECG) should be performed promptly. Typical findings of Atrial Fibrillation(AF) on ECG are absence of P waves, irregular R-R intervals and QRS complexes with fibrillatory (f) waves appearing at rates as high as > 300/min) . If AF is confirmed, cardiac ultrasonography is recommended, in order to assess the entire cardiac apparatus and determine whether additional abnormalities, such as scarring, atrial or ventricular dysfunction, and other signs of myocardial injury are present. Assessment of serum electrolyte levels (especially potassium levels) and thyroid hormone levels are recommended in the initial workup as well .
The best way to overcome alcohol-related disorders is to seek advice from professionals and get the right treatment at the right time. [alcoholaddictiongethelp.com]
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. [flushinghospital.org]
Medication and cardioversion are the main treatment options for holiday heart syndrome. [healthhype.com]
Some patients may develop end-stage liver disease which also has a poor prognosis. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Keywords : Alcoholism [complications]; Arrhythmias, Cardiac [etiology]; Holidays; Atrial Fibrillation; Review. [scielo.br]
This chapter will discuss holiday heart syndrome in detail including etiology, epidemiology, pathophysiology, histopathology, history and physical, recommended tests, treatment, and potential complications. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Larsson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Unit of Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, was lead author of the study. [drugabuse.com]
Epidemiology The frequency of Holiday heart syndrome is unclear due to conflicting evidence. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
The pathophysiology of Holiday heart syndrome, or alcohol-induced arrhythmia, is complex, and therefore not completely understood. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Preventing ‘holiday heart’ Tips for preventing holiday heart while still enjoying your holidays include being conscious of the amount of alcohol you are consuming during the event, and staying well hydrated. [detroit.cbslocal.com]
Preventing 'holiday heart' Tips for preventing holiday heart while still enjoying your holidays include being conscious of the amount of alcohol you are consuming during the event, and staying well hydrated. [edition.cnn.com]
Also read: 7 Natural Cholesterol Reducers For A Healthy Heart How to prevent Holiday Heart Syndrome? A very simple way to prevent Holiday Heart Syndrome is to drink alcohol in complete moderation. [doctor.ndtv.com]
In the United States, nearly 2.7-6.1 Americans are affected by AFib, with the number expected to increase significantly in the aging population of the U.S., as per a 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). [alcoholaddictiongethelp.com]
- Ettinger PO, Wu CF, De La Cruz C Jr, et al. Arrhythmias and the "Holiday Heart": alcohol-associated cardiac rhythm disorders. Am Heart J. 1978;95(5):555-562.
- Samokhvalov AV, Irving HM, Rehm J. Alcohol Consumption as a Risk Factor for Atrial Fibrillation: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2010;17(6):706-712.
- Gronroos NN, Alonso A. Diet and Risk of Atrial Fibrillation: Epidemiologic and Clinical Evidence. Circ J. 2010;74(10):2029-2038.
- Liang Y, Mente A, Yusuf S, et al. Alcohol consumption and the risk of incident atrial fibrillation among people with cardiovascular disease. CMAJ. 2012;184(16):E857-866.
- Tonelo D, Providência R, Gonçalves L. Holiday Heart Syndrome Revisited after 34 Years. Arq Bras Cardiol. 2013;101(2):183-189.
- Porter RS, Kaplan JL. Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. 19th Edition. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. Whitehouse Station, N.J; 2011.