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Holiday heart syndrome is an irregular heartbeat pattern presented in individuals who are otherwise healthy. It can be the result of stress, dehydration, and alcohol use. Sometimes associated with binge drinking, the condition can also occur when individuals consume only moderate amounts of alcohol.

Irregular heartbeats are very serious. If palpitations continue for longer than a few hours patients should seek medical attention. Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia in holiday heart syndrome and can result in very serious consequences such as stroke, but a variety of changes in the intervals and morphology of the EKG may occur. All symptoms usually resolve themselves within 24 hours.

It is defined as "arrhythmias of the heart, sometimes apparent after a vacation or weekend away from work, following excessive alcohol consumption; usually temporary".[1] The term was coined in 1978.[2]

The syndrome is widely known and commonly occurs in South Africa. Global soccer events tend to influence the number of reported Holiday Heart cases.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Holiday heart syndrome — definition from
  2. Ettinger PO, Wu CF, De La Cruz C, Weisse AB, Ahmed SS, Regan TJ (May 1978). Arrhythmias and the "Holiday Heart": alcohol-associated cardiac rhythm disorders. Am. Heart J. 95 (5): 555–62.

External links[edit | edit source]

  • eMedicine med/1024
  • Menz V, Grimm W, Hoffmann J, Maisch B (August 1996). Alcohol and rhythm disturbance: the holiday heart syndrome. Herz 21 (4): 227–31.
  • Alboni P, Gianfranchi L, Pacchioni F, Pedaci M (March 2005). Antiarrhythmic drugs in patients with recurrent atrial fibrillation: where are we?. Ital Heart J 6 (3): 169–74.

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