QTc prolongation, increased NT-proBNP and pre-clinical myocardial wall remodeling in excessive alcohol consumers: the SABPA study
Scheepers, Jacobus D.
Malan, Nicolaas T.
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Alcohol contributes greatly to vascular and structural modifications. Due to differences in the metabolism and tolerance of alcohol between ethnic groups, the manner of these modifications may differ. We investigated the association between alcohol consumption – measured via ethnic-specific gamma glutamyl transferase (γ-GT) cut-points – and markers of cardiac perfusion, electrical activity, and pre-clinical structural alterations. A South African target population study was performed in a bi-ethnic cohort (n = 405). Alcohol consumption was determined according to previously defined ethnic-specific γ-GT cut-points, where γ-GT ≥ 19.5 U/L and γ-GT ≥ 55 U/L indicated excessive alcohol consumption in Caucasians and Africans, respectively. Ambulatory 24-h blood pressure and electrocardiograms (ECG), 10-lead ECG left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), ischemic events, N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), and QTc prolongation were assessed. Fasting blood samples were obtained. A poorer cardio-metabolic profile and mean 24-h hypertensive and ECG-LVH values were evident in high γ-GT groups of both ethnicities, when compared to their low counterparts. The African high γ-GT group reported a higher intake of alcohol and presented significant increases in NT-proBNP (p < 0.001), QTc prolongation (p = 0.008), and ischemic events (p = 0.013). Regression analyses revealed associations between ECG-LVH and NT-proBNP, QTc prolongation, ischemic events, and SBP, in the African high γ-GT group exclusively. High alcohol consumers presented delayed electrical conduction in the heart accompanied by ECG-LVH, ischemic events, and increased vaso-responsiveness, predominantly in Africans. Ultimately, increased left ventricular distension on a pre-clinical level may elevate the risk for future cardiovascular events in this population
- Faculty of Health Sciences