For citation purposes: Nikaj A, Cakani B, Shkoza A, Ranxha E, Vyshka G. Effects of ethanol on the heart and blood vessels. OA Alcohol 2014 Apr 18;2(1):7.

Critical review


Effects of ethanol on the heart and blood vessels.

A Nikaj , B Cakani, A Shkoza, E Ranxha, G Vyshka

Authors affiliations

(1) Doctoral School, Faculty of Medical and Technical Sciences, University of Medicine in Tirana, Albania.

(2) Biomedical and Experimental Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Medicine in Tirana, Albania.

(3) Service of Neurology, University Hospital Centre “Mother Theresa”, Tirana, Albania.

* Corresponding author Email:



Alcohol consumption and its influences over human health have been at the centre of medical discussions for centuries. An important part of the daily menu, ethanol has had in the not so remote past a variety of uses in medicine and pharmacology, although very few of them resisted the proof of time. Its gastronomical consumption should be moderate, and moderate drinking is presumed to have a protective role against hypertension and coronary heart disease. We have revised several papers that raise doubts, with all pros and cons of its consumption, starting from the historical sources to the most updated opinions. The classification of abstainers, light, moderate and heavy drinkers should as well be kept in mind when dealing with patients that pretend consuming alcohol in ‘social dosis’, since restriction seems by far a better option rather than uncontrolled use. Physiological influences of ethanol over the heart, vessels, central nervous system and autonomous nervous system are mentioned as well in the present paper.


Alcohol is part of the menu for more than five millennia, and refraining totally from its consumption seems illogical and unachievable. However, awareness should be raised that its role as a risk factor for vascular diseases seems by far to overrun the presumed protection offered from a moderate use of alcoholic beverages.

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