A nine-year-old boy took a bite of a hotdog and had a heart attack, but not for reasons related to the food.
The boy, who was from Turkey, was immediately resuscitated and subsequently diagnosed with Brugada syndrome, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics that published a study on the case.
Dr. Isa Ozyilmaz and colleagues at the Mehmet Akif Ersoy Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Training and Research Hospital in Istanbul conducted an electrocardiograph (known as an ECG or EKG), reports WTVR, along with an ajmaline challenge test to check on how the boy’s heart would respond. The EKG pattern confirmed the diagnosis.
Brugada syndrome causes patients to suffer sudden cardiac arrest when they already have a high fever, consume alcohol or while they’re asleep. What happens is that people with Brugada syndrome’s hearts beat too fast for normal blood flow, causing a disruption that leads to cardiac arrest.
This condition can also cause cardiac arrest if the vagus nerve, which is found running from the face to the thorax and abdomen, is stimulated. This rare case happened to the boy, who ate the hotdog while at school. The condition can cause sudden death, so children who have had cardiac arrests after eating should get checked immediately.
The AAP said, “Vagal stimulus-dependent SCA after eating a large bite of food may be the first symptom of BS. For this reason, the electrocardiographic results of the children who had a cardiac arrest after eating a large meal with big bites should be evaluated in detail.”
The Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease reports that around four in 1,000 Americans have tested positive for Brugada syndrome. It is more common in men than women, particularly among people of Asian ancestry. The condition is also genetic, as tests on the boy’s family found that his brother had the same syndrome.