A new study has found that even low blood concentrations of alcohol can have acute effects on the heart, with very different effects on LV and right ventricular (RV) function, which collectively pump blood to the entire body.
"Little data exist regarding the acute effects of alcohol on the heart," said Matteo Cameli, a cardiologist at the Cardiologia Universitaria of Siena and co-author for the study.
"Previous studies have reported a reduction in LV performance after an assumption of moderate or high doses of alcohol, but the effects of low doses are still unknown," he said.
The cardiologist explained that LV and RV function work very differently.
"They are like two different worlds, both for structure and function of myocardial fibres that they present," he explained.
"Yet their differences, and the effects that low doses of alcohol have on them, have relevant social implications, given that light drinking is such a common practice.
"We found that low doses of red wine are associated with acute depression in left ventricular function and acute increase in right ventricular function," Cameli added.
The results will be published in the October 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.