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Alcohol consumption and cardiovascular health: A nationwide survey of Uruguayan cardiologists

Alejandro Cuesta, Sohaib Haseeb, Federico Aquistapache, Pedro Grosso, Bryce Alexander, Wilma Hopman, Ricardo Lopez Santi, Adrian Baranchuk
Alcohol 2019 February 12

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Heavy alcohol use is a risk factor for disease and mortality; however epidemiological findings have demonstrated protective effects of a light-to-moderate intake of alcohol on cardiovascular health. There are many misconceptions regarding appropriate levels of alcohol intake and the risks and benefits of consumption. We sought to examine physician attitudes and recommendations regarding alcohol intake in a cohort of Uruguayan cardiologists.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of 25 questions was distributed through the Uruguayan Society of Cardiology to attending cardiologists and advanced cardiology trainees.

RESULTS: There were 298 respondents; 237 were attending cardiologists and 61 were advanced cardiology trainees. In total, 34% of cardiologists viewed moderate alcohol intake to be beneficial for cardiovascular health, 27% believed only wine offered such benefits, 36% viewed any intake to be harmful, and 3% had other opinions. More than half (57%) self-reported their perceived knowledge to come from academic sources. Regarding knowledge of guidelines, only 42% were aware of the concept of 'standard drink' (SD). Cardiologists were not comfortable (on a Likert scale) converting SD into other metric units (1.92 ± 2.77). Cardiologists were not satisfied with their knowledge of drinking guidelines (2.42 ± 2.63); however, men were more comfortable than women (p=0.003). Cardiologists were generally comfortable in counseling patients regarding safe limits of consumption (5.46 ± 3.08, on a 0-10 scale).

CONCLUSIONS: Uruguayan cardiologists were not satisfied with their knowledge of drinking guidelines or understanding of the alcohol metric units. This study suggests a necessity to optimize educational resources for physicians.


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