University of Oulu

Holmström, L., Kauppila, J., Vähätalo, J. et al. Sudden cardiac death after alcohol intake: classification and autopsy findings. Sci Rep 12, 16771 (2022).

Sudden cardiac death after alcohol intake : classification and autopsy findings

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Author: Holmström, Lauri1; Kauppila, Janna1; Vähätalo, Juha1;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Internal Medicine, Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, PO Box 5000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
2Forensic Medicine Unit, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Oulu, Finland
3Department of Forensic Medicine, Research Unit of Internal Medicine, Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-02-14


Alcohol is known to have an immediate effect on cardiac rhythm, and previous studies have found that a notable proportion of sudden cardiac deaths (SCD) occur after alcohol intake. The objective of the present study was to investigate the association between the timing of alcohol intake and SCD. Our study population is drawn from the Fingesture study, which includes 5869 consecutive SCD cases from Northern Finland who underwent medicolegal autopsy 1998–2017. Toxicological analysis was performed if there was any suspicion of toxic exposure, or if there was no obvious immediate cause of SCD at autopsy. We found that 1563 (27%) of all SCD victims had alcohol in blood or urine at autopsy (mean age (61 ± 10 years, 88% male). Eighty-six percent of alcohol-related SCD victims had higher urine alcohol concentration than blood alcohol concentration, referring to the late-stage inebriation. These results suggest that the majority of alcohol-related SCDs occur at the late stage of inebriation.

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Series: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
ISSN-E: 2045-2322
ISSN-L: 2045-2322
Volume: 12
Issue: 1
Article number: 16771
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-20250-3
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Funding: This work was supported by Sigrid Juselius Foundation, Academy of Finland, Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Paavo Nurmi Foundation, Orion Research Foundation, Uolevi Mäki Foundation, and Instrumentarium Science Foundation.
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