Caffeine In Energy Drinks Related Heart Attacks

caffeine

In this month’s issue of The American Journal of  Medicine, there was a case of a 23-year old women with no medical history having heart palpatations and chest tightness. This happened shortly after consuming an energy drink as well as a soda drink with caffeine.

Many “energy drinks” contain excessive amounts of caffeine, sometimes several times the amount contained in a cup of coffee. Caffeine increases intracellular calcium concentrations, causes noradrenaline release, and sensitizes dopamine receptors . This causes cardiac stimulation resulting in the rapid rhythm of the heart, especially with high doses.

The manufacturers of the energy drink in question specifically warned against the concomitant use of this product with other caffeine-containing products. This includes sodas and coffee. They also suggest that people who are unsure to the drink try half a bottle instead of a whole bottle. Our patient was not a regular user of the energy drink, and ended up consuming both the energy drink and the caffeinated soda; a combination that most likely precipitated the rapid rhythm of the heart.

It is important for the public to be aware of the potential adverse effects of these energy drinks – whether they are consumed alone or in combination with other caffeine-containing products. This is because fatal and serious events have been reported. Read the article here

Reference:

  1. Energy Drink-related Supraventricular Tachycardia,  The American Journal of Medicine , April 2008 (Vol. 121, Issue 4, Pages e3-e4)

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