Caffeine and Heart Rhythm: Moderation May Be OK

April 2016

Caffeine and Heart Rhythm: Moderation May Be OK

Having that morning cup of coffee probably won’t trigger heart rhythm problems, a new study says. That goes for tea and chocolate, as well.

Woman holding cup of coffee

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco say this applies only to people who have moderate amounts of caffeine. Their study did not look at people who drank lots of caffeinated beverages.

Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) such as having extra heart beats can lead to heart problems such as stroke. Cutting back on caffeine has been standard advice from healthcare providers to help prevent these extra heart beats.

Change advice?

Based on the study results, this advice should be reconsidered, says study senior author Gregory Marcus, MD. Marcus specializes in treating arrhythmias.

For the study, 1,400 healthy people were followed for a year. None had been diagnosed with a heart rhythm problem. They wore a portable device that recorded their heart rhythm for 24 hours a day. The study tracked how much coffee, tea, and chocolate each person had each day.

Of the group, about 6 in 10 people had more than one caffeinated product a day. Those who had higher amounts of caffeine did not have heart rhythm problems, the researchers found.

The researchers say that more study is needed to see what effect high amounts of caffeine have on heart rhythm.


Find out more about arrhythmias.



Online resources

American Heart Association

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

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