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What are the dangers to the heart from "energy" drinks?  

Like many of his classmates, my son drinks energy drinks regularly and claims the caffeine boost helps him keep up with his busy schedule. But a young man in our community who drank [a popular energy drink] every day died from an irregular heartbeat and we are scared for our kids. What are the dangers to the heart from these drinks?

submitted by Helen from Oakland, California on 6/26/2013


by Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Mehdi Razavi, MD  

Mehdi Razavi, MD The short answer is we don't know. While there have been no exhaustive studies on the subject, there have been reports of life threatening arrhythmias associated with energy drinks.  It remains unknown whether or not the affected individuals had a pre-existing condition. At this point, the most prudent recommendation is to certainly avoid anything more than moderate consumption; also, to report to a physician if symptoms such as chest pain, heart racing, or irregular heartbeats occur.  The safest option, of course, is abstention. [You also may find the Q/A cited below of interest.] 

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Updated July 2013
Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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