Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Alcohol intemperance and sudden death.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 294 doi: (Published 06 June 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;294:1456
  1. H Lithell,
  2. H Aberg,
  3. I Selinus,
  4. H Hedstrand


    Ten years after a health screening examination was offered to 50 year old men 32 of the 2322 participants and 12 of the 454 nonparticipants had died of ischaemic heart disease. Of these, 26 and 11 respectively had suffered sudden death, for which necropsy was performed. Half of the men who had died suddenly had been registered for alcohol intemperance up to 1973, which was four times the prevalence of such registrations in the general population. Registration at both the Swedish Temperance Board and the Bureau of Social Services was associated with an odds ratio of 3.74 for sudden death as compared with not being registered at either. Logistic analysis including the classical risk factors for ischaemic heart disease together with registration for alcohol intemperance and at the Bureau of Social Services showed only the two types of registration and systolic blood pressure to be independent risk factors. On the other hand, there was no overrepresentation of subjects entered in the registers among those surviving a myocardial infarction. For non-fatal myocardial infarction blood pressure and serum triglyceride concentration were significant risk factors and serum cholesterol concentration, smoking, and body mass index probable risk factors; the two types of registration were not independent risk factors. Alcohol intemperance is strongly associated with an increased risk of sudden death after myocardial infarction.