A study found in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, discusses the effects of caffeine on patients with systolic heart failure and those at risk of ventricular arrhythmias. The findings show that there is no correlation between caffeine ingestion and arrhythmias, as there was no significant increase in ventricular premature beats (VPBs).
Caffeine consumption is a controversial topic with regards to health, which has presented both negative and positive effects. A recent study found in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, explored this topic further to analyze the effects of high-dose caffeine or placebo on the frequency of supraventricular and ventricular arrhythmias. This trial involved 51 patients with moderate to severe systolic dysfunction, with allocation and randomization to determine which patients are assigned to intervention or placebo. The patients who were allocated to intervention were given decaffeinated coffee with caffeine powder, and the placebo patients received decaffeinated coffee with placebo powder, followed by a washout period, then the protocol was repeated again.
Blood samples were tested throughout the trial, and the patients were examined and monitored during exercises to analyze the ventricular premature beats (VPBs) and supra VPBs. An increase in VPBs would indicate a possible arrhythmia, as the heart is “skipping a beat”, meaning it is beating too fast. While observing this variable, the researchers aimed to show whether caffeine could trigger arrhythmias, due to an increase in VPBs, in patients with different levels of systolic heart failure and those at high risk of ventricular arrhythmias.
The results indicated no significant difference in regards to the number of ventricular premature beats (VPBs) and supra VPBs. In addition, caffeine ingestion did not affect VPBs during exercise, oxygen consumptions, or heart rate. Thus the study concluded that the ingestion of caffeine in high doses did not trigger arrhythmias in patients with systolic heart failure and those at high risk of ventricular arrhythmias. These findings show some evidence as to why caffeine may not be as harmful as we think, however, this remains a controversial issue as there is no definitive conclusion to say if caffeine is harmful or not.
By: Sana Issa, HBSc