Energy drinks linked to heart complications

energy drinks

High caffeine energy drinks could be linked to cardiac complications, a US study has found.

The connection came to light when a young man was admitted to the emergency room with a fast heart rate and vomiting. It was revealed he drank two cans of energy drinks a day.

Link to arrhythmia

The case, which was investigated by Dr. Maryam Sattari of the University of Florida, adds to previous studies into the negative effects consuming energy drinks can have on the heart, including abnormal heart rhythms, known as arrhythmias.

The patient in question was a 28-year-old obese man who was admitted to the emergency room after developing vomiting with blood and a heart rate of around 130 beats per minute.

An electrocardiogram revealed he was in atrial fibrillation - a common type of arrhythmia that can lead to serious complications. Apart from this, he had no other heart problems.

The patient routinely drank two energy drinks a day, which included 320 milligrams of caffeine in total. On top of this he would also have two or three beers.

While there were a number of factors that could have contributed to the arrhythmia, Dr Sattari believes the energy drink consumption played a key role.

More cases

Dr Sattari looked at related medical research and found at least eight cases of cardiovascular events linked to energy drinks.

The reason these drinks have this affect could be down to the taurine they contain, which can heighten the effects of caffeine, or using the energy drinks with alcohol or illicit drugs.

Dr Sattari added that her report, along with others, is suggestive but not conclusive on the link between caffeine in energy drinks and abnormal heart rhythms.

But she wants health care providers to ask about energy drink intake in otherwise healthy young patients with unexplained arrhythmias.

The study was published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.


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