New study finds consumption of one energy drink could be fatal


A new study conducted at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney has revealed that consumption of just one or two energy drinks could be life-threatening for young people born with genetic disorder Long QT Syndrome.

According to the study, people with the syndrome are at higher risk of potentially fatal heart rhythms after consuming the drinks.

Conducted for two years, the study included 24 people within the age group of 16 to 50 years that had Long QT Syndrome. The patients were given either energy drinks or control drinks over a 90-minute period. They were put under continuous observation, undergoing regular electrocardiagrams (ECG) and blood sample tests.

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's cardiologist Dr Belinda Gray said: “We found patients had a significant increase in their blood pressure of more than 10% after the energy drinks, which was not seen in the control group.

"Patients had a significant increase in their blood pressure of more than 10% after the energy drinks, which was not seen in the control group."

“Additionally, while none of the patients in the study experienced dangerous arrhythmias, we did identify dangerous ECG changes in some patients; 12.5% of patients showed a marked QT prolongation of 50 milliseconds or more.

“For ethical reasons, we could only give patients in this study low doses of energy drinks but, the reality is, many young people will consume four or more energy drinks with alcohol in one evening. These drinks are widely available to all young people.”

Currently, one in every 2,000 people suffer from Long QT Syndrome, but most of them remain unaware of their heart condition until they undergo an ECG.


Image: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital cardiologist, Dr Belinda Gray. Photo: courtesy of New South Wales Ministry of Health.