Nigerian Journal of Family Practice

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Holiday heart syndrome: a case report

A.A. Garba, C.M. Ngong, O Ogunfowokan


Alcohol is known to have both beneficial and detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system. An association has been found between alcohol use and rhythm disturbances, especially binge drinking that may occur on holidays and weekends. Not much literature can be found on the prevalence of Holiday Heart Syndrome in developing countries. 

We present a case of a 30 year old male doctor with chest tightness and palpitations of five days' duration with onset about 24 hours after a weekend ingestion of a moderate amount of alcohol, historical report of elevated pulse rate and blood pressure at onset, and no family history of cardiac disease or sudden death. His physical examination yielded no abnormality other than a variation of pulse and heart rate with respiration, also noted on an otherwise normal electrocardiogram. There were no historical, examination or investigation findings suggestive of an underlying structural cardiac disease. His symptoms subsided with alcohol cessation, and no medication was required.

He has remained both alcohol-free and symptom-free. Family Physicians should have a high index of suspicion and be able to differentiate holiday heart syndrome from coronary heart disease, as counseling for alcohol cessation is a very effective tool for the management of such patients.

Keywords: Holiday Heart Syndrome, alcohol misuse, coronary heart disease, alcohol cessation, arrhythmias

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