Alcohol intake from moderate to heavy and binge drinking can lead to Atrial Fibrillation (AF) - most common cardiac arrhythmia with "Holiday Heart Syndrome". This syndrome often includes atrial fibrillation.
Atrial Fibrillation name comes from the fibrillating (i.e., quivering) of the heart muscles of the atria, instead of a coordinated contraction. The result is an irregular heartbeat, which may occur in episodes lasting from minutes to weeks, or it could occur all the time for years. Atrial fibrillation alone is not in itself generally life-threatening, but it may result in palpitations, fainting, chest pain, or congestive heart failure.
There is no doubt that heavy alcohol intake and binge drinking can lead to cardiac arrhythmias, with the "Holiday Heart Syndrome" being known for more than three decades. ; the syndrome is usually not associated with long-standing heart disease and the arrhythmia tends to resolve when drinking stops.
There is much evidence that heavy alcohol consumption is associated with an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation, among other health risks. The pattern of consumption (speed, time frame and without food), not often addressed, affects risk too - we know that binge drinking is associated with a greater incidence of arrhythmias, especially atrial fibrillation.
A weakness of this paper, and of essentially all meta-analyses, is that there were varying definitions for categories of alcohol consumption, and the highest category of alcohol intake included alcoholics and 6 or more drinks/day for some studies, while the highest category of alcohol intake was = 1-2 drinks/day in other studies.
The consistent message is that there is a difference between heavy and moderate use of alcohol, between binge drinking and a healthy pattern of drinking, and inherent health risk. The most important question would be: Does light to moderate drinking increase the risk of AF? The conclusion of the authors of this paper seems to be yes, while many other studies find little effect of such drinking'.
Overall, the scientific evidence from many studies suggests that heavy drinking may increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, although whether light-to-moderate intake increases the risk seems unlikely. Previous basic scientific data of mechanisms of atrial fibrillation have suggested that alcohol has little effect on this arrhythmia.