Yesterday we looked at the possible causes for the deaths of swimmers in Triathlon and other open water competition. Pre-existing cardiac conditions may be one plausible theory. One such pre-existing condition could be “Long QT syndrome.” This is an “inherited defect in heart rhythm that predisposes to syncope without warning (sudden fainting spells), dizziness, palpitations, seizures and sudden death. The name of the syndrome comes from the QT segment in the tracing on the electrocardiogram (ECG). This segment lasts slightly longer in the syndrome than normal. The heart takes longer to recharge itself between beats. Certain conditions can trigger an abnormal cardiac rhythm. Among the known triggers are intense physical exercise, swimming, being suddenly startled or badly frightened.
So, with swimming being a potential “trigger” and caffeine known to cause irregular heart beats (or “ectopic foci”), I looked for deaths associated with energy drink consumption and sport. According to the Sport Journal, when these are reported, they seem to be isolated cases involving multiple servings with high levels of caffeine. For example, according to Rice University over 15 years ago, one study looked at the whether caffeine intake increased the risk of heart Continue reading