Amanda Davey

Drinking lots of coffee does not increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder characterised by a rapid and irregular heartbeat, according to one of the largest studies on the subject.

The Swedish research involving nearly 250,000 people over the course of 12 years suggests caffeine is unlikely to be a problem for people with atrial fibrillation (AF).

In fact, results from another analysis, this time conducted by Chinese researchers, shows that habitual caffeine consumption might actually reduce AF risk.

The findings from both studies – which combined include almost half a million people – can put to rest speculation that coffee drinkers are inadvertently increasing their risk of the heart condition.

Lead author of the Swedish study, Dr Susanne Larsson from Karolinska Institutet, says the findings apply even in more extreme levels of coffee consumption.

“This is important because it shows that people who like coffee can safely continue to consume it without the risk of developing this condition.”

However, she warns that coffee may still trigger other forms of irregular heartbeat.

Last Reviewed: 24/09/2015

Reproduced with kind permission from


Caffeine intake and atrial fibrillation incidence: dose response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.
Coffee consumption is not associated with increased risk of atrial fibrillation: results from two prospective cohorts and a meta-analysis.