Energy drinks may increase risk of life-threatening arrhythmias

Health Care Comments Off

Drinking 32 ounces of a commercially available energy drink resulted in more profound changes in the electrical activity of the heart and blood pressure (CP) compared to drinking 32 ounces of a control drink with the same amount of caffeine 320 mg, according to new research published April 26, 2017 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study included 18 young healthy volunteers who consumed either 32 ounces (946 mL) of commercially-available energy drink or caffeinated control drink, both of which contained 320 mg of caffeine. After a six-day washout period, participants switched drinks. The electrical activity of the heart was recorded by ECG. Peripheral and central blood pressures, at baseline and after consumption of the drink, were also measured.

· The change in corrected QT interval from baseline in the energy drink arm was significantly higher (10-milliseconds) than the caffeine arm at 2 hours .

· Both the energy drink and caffeine-only groups had similar increases in systolic BP. While the systolic BP in the caffeine group almost returned to baseline reading after six hours, it was still mildly raised in those who consumed the energy drinks after six hours.

Based on these results, the study authors advise caution when consuming energy drinks, especially those who have high blood pressure, underlying cardiac conditions or other health issues. It is usually the young who consume energy drinks.

Energy drinks may increase the risk of sudden cardiac death due to increase in BP and prolonged QT interval, which can lead to life-threatening arrhythmia.

(Source: AHA News Release, April 28, 2017)