A high intake of alcohol can result in a disturbance in cardiac rhythm. Since this may be associated with holiday partying, this is termed the "holiday heart".


Persons at risk:

(1) chronic alcoholics

(2) binge drinkers

(3) excessive drinking in a short period of time by someone who rarely drinks alcohol


Cardiac rhythm disorders:

(1) atrial fibrillation

(2) other supraventricular tachyarrhythmias

(3) ventricular tachyarrhythmia


Clinical features:

(1) heavy alcohol intake

(2) often no previous history of heart disease

(3) acute cardiac rhythm disorder

(4) reversal to normal sinus rhythm within 24 hours


Chronic alcoholics with the holiday heart syndrome may be prone to delirium tremens (Rich et al, 1985).


Differential diagnosis:

(1) alcoholic cardiomyopathy

(2) other causes of atrial fibrillation


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