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Cola and honey: Exploring food riddles in rhythm disturbances
Date:6/24/2013

Athens, Greece, 25 June 2013. Drinking excessive amounts of cola and eating honey made from the pollen of Rhododendrons can cause unusual syncope (fainting) and symptoms of arrhythmia, report two case studies presented as abstracts at the EHRA EUROPACE 2013 meeting, in Athens 23 to 26 June.

"Both these studies underline the importance of clinicians taking detailed medical histories for patients with unexplained arrhythmias and including questions about their dietary intakes," says Professor Andreas Goette, the EHRA Scientific Programme Committee chairperson.

In the first abstract Dr. Naima Zarqane and Prof. Nadir Saoudi, from the Princess Grace Hospital Centre, Monaco, report how excessive consumption of cola drinks can result in marked potassium loss (hypokalemia), QT prolongation on ECGs and potentially life threatening arrhythmias.

In the abstract the team describe the case of a 31 year old woman admitted to hospital for traumatic syncope. Once other problems had been excluded (including a family history of sudden death, digestive symptoms, and metabolic or hormonal abnormalities), tests revealed the patient had blood potassium levels of 2.4 mmol/L, and a QTc (The QT interval on the ECG corrected for heart rate) of 610 ms. Normal blood potassium levels range between 3.5 to 5.1 mmol/L; while the normal QTc for women is less than or equal to 450 ms.

When they took a medical history the clinicians discovered that since the age of 15 years the patient had exclusively replaced water with cola beverages. When cola consumption ceased on medical advice, the patient's potassium level returned to 4.1 mmol/L at one week, and 4.2 mmol/L at one month, and her QTc duration returned to 430 ms at one week.

A literature search revealed six other case studies where excessive cola consumption could be related to adverse medical conditions including rhabdomyolysis (damaged skeletal muscle tissue), arrhythmias, and even one death related to Torsades de
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Contact: Jacqueline Partarrieu
press@escardio.org
33-492-947-756
European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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