Fresh warning on energy drinks in patients with familial long QT syndrome

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Even small amounts of caffeinated energy drinks can lead to arrhythmias and significant spikes in blood pressure.

New warnings have been issued about the use of energy drinks in young patients with familial long QT syndrome (LQTS). It follows findings from a new study , which showed caffeinated energy drinks have significant haemodynamic effects in patients with LQTS, especially an acute increase in blood pressure.

For the study, 24 LQTS patients aged 16-50 years were recruited to a randomised, double-blind, cross-over study of energy drink versus control. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure increased by 6 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, with the consumption of energy drinks, compared to 0.8 per cent and 3 per cent with control. Three patients (12.5 per cent) experienced dangerous corrected QT prolongation of ≥50ms following energy drink consumption.

Writing in the International Journal of Cardiology , Dr Federica Dagradi, of the Center for Cardiac Arrhythmias of Genetic Origin, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano said the findings cannot be ignored.  “When something, in this case energy drinks, is ingested by millions of individuals all over the world, a percentage such as 12.5 per cent is no longer small, and the findings deserve careful consideration. We should avoid spreading unjustified alarms and fears, but at the same time, we should not ignore potential dangers.”

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