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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Binge Drinking Impairs Vascular Function in Young Adults


The aim of this study was to assess whether young binge drinkers (BD) have impaired macrovascular and microvascular function and cardiovascular disease risk factors compared with age-matched alcohol abstainers (A).

Binge drinking rates are highest on college campuses and among those age 18 to 25 years; however, macrovascular and microvascular endothelial function in young adults with histories of repeated binge drinking (≥5 standard drinks in 2 h in men, ≥4 standard drinks in 2 h in women) has not been investigated.

Cardiovascular profiles, brachial artery endothelial-dependent flow-mediated dilation (FMD), and flow-independent nitroglycerin (NTG)–mediated dilation and vasoreactivity of resistance arteries (isolated from gluteal fat biopsies) were evaluated in A and BD.

Men and women (18 to 25 years of age; A, n = 17; BD, n = 19) were enrolled. In the BD group, past-month mean number of binge episodes was 6 ± 1, and the mean duration of binge drinking behavior was 4 ± 0.6 years. FMD and NTG-mediated dilation were significantly lower in the BD group (FMD: 8.4 ± 0.7%, p = 0.022; NTG-mediated dilation: 19.6 ± 2%, p = 0.009) than in the A group (FMD: 11 ± 0.7%; NTG-mediated dilation: 28.6 ± 2%). Acetylcholine-induced and sodium nitroprusside–induced dilation in resistance arteries was not significantly different between the A and BD groups. However, endothelin-1–induced constriction was significantly enhanced in the BD group compared with the A group (p = 0.032). No differences between groups were found in blood pressure, lipoproteins, and C-reactive protein.

Alterations in the macrocirculation and microcirculation may represent early clinical manifestations of cardiovascular risk in otherwise healthy young BD. This study has important clinical implications for screening young adults for a repeated history of binge drinking.

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