..Measurements were made of the following: (1) high‐sensitivity cardiac troponin T, (2) NT‐proBNP (N‐terminal pro‐B‐type natriuretic peptide), and (3) hsCRP (high‐sensitivity C‐reactive protein). The narcology clinic subsample had the most extreme drinking pattern and the highest levels of all 3 biomarkers relative to nonproblem drinkers in the general population: high‐sensitivity cardiac troponin T was elevated by 10.3% (95% CI, 3.7%–17.4%), NT‐proBNP by 46.7% (95% CI, 26.8%–69.8%), and hsCRP by 69.2% (95% CI, 43%–100%). In the general population sample, NT‐proBNP was 31.5% (95% CI, 3.4%–67.2%) higher among harmful drinkers compared with nonproblem drinkers. Overall, NT‐proBNP and hsCRP increased with increasing intensity of alcohol exposure (test of trend P<0.001).
These results support the hypothesis that heavy alcohol drinking has an adverse effect on cardiac structure and function that may not be driven by atherosclerosis.