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Coffee & Health
Cardiovascular health

Acute effects of coffee on QT interval in healthy subjects

S Buscemi et al, 2011
Nutrition Journal, Epub ahead of print
February 1, 2011

The coronary endothelial function is recognized to have an important role in the physiology of the diastolic ventricular relaxation, a phase of the heart cycle that influences the electrocardiographic QT interval. Endothelial function is investigated in vivo by flow mediated dilation (FMD) in the brachial artery and has proven to be a strong predictor of both coronary endothelial function and cardiovascular events. It has been reported that coffee acutely induces FMD changes. In particular, the brachial artery FMD seems to decrease after caffeinated coffee (CC) and to increase after decaffeinated coffee (DC) ingestion. Since the cardiovascular effects of coffee are still a debated matter, this study aimed at investigating with a randomized, double-blind crossover design, if the QT interval of adult healthy subjects (19 males and 21 females) changes in the hour following CC or DC ingestion. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were higher in the hour following the ingestion of CC; the heart rate significantly increased 30 minutes after CC ingestion. A significant increase of the QT duration was observed one hour after DC ingestion (398.9 ± 3.8 vs 405.3 ± 3.7 msec; P < 0.05), not after CC. The QT interval corrected for heart rate did not significantly change following CC or DC ingestion. In conclusion, despite CC and DC previously demonstrated to influence the FMD they do not seem to induce a significant unfavourable acute change of the left ventricular repolarization. Further investigations are required to elucidate the effects of coffee in subjects with cardiovascular diseases.

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