2. Caffeine in energy drinks may lead to cardiac complications

The high levels of caffeine in energy drinks may lead to cardiac complications, suggests a case report. The case, reported in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), adds to previous reports of adverse cardiovascular events related to consuming energy drinks, including abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or improper beating of the heart, whether irregular, too fast or too slow.

The patient was a 28-year-old man seen in the emergency department after developing vomiting with blood. On examination, the only abnormality (other than obesity) was a very fast heart rate — about 130 beats per minute. An electrocardiogram revealed an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation: a common type of arrhythmia that can lead to serious complications if sustained. Further tests showed no other heart problems. The patient said he routinely drank two cans of energy drinks per day — for a total caffeine content of 320 milligrams — along with two or three beers. No other common causes of his heart rhythm abnormality were apparent.

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