Energy drink (ED) consumption has been linked to several adverse event reports, but there is limited data on related cardiovascular (CV) complications.. We searched case reports in peer-reviewed journals from 1980, to 2013, in which an acute CV event was associated temporally with ED consumption.
We identified 14 eligible articles involving 15 cases (5 atrial arrhythmias, 5 ventricular arrhythmias, 1 QT prolongation, 4 ST-segment elevations). Two additional cases of cardiac arrest from our institution are included. Of these 17 cases of ED-related acute CV events (13 male cases; 15 cases aged <30 years, age range 13 to 58 years), only 1 had minor previous cardiac disease. Cardiac investigations did not reveal any predisposing cardiac abnormality in the majority of cases. Of the 11 cases related to a serious event (i.e., cardiac arrest, ventricular arrhythmia, or ST-segment elevations), 5 reported acute heavy ED consumption, 4 reported co-ingestions with alcohol or other drugs, and 2 were found to have a channelopathy. Potential mechanisms of ED-related cardiac events are reviewed. In conclusion, several adverse CV events after consuming ED have been reported in the literature. Although causality cannot be inferred from our series, physicians should routinely inquire about ED consumption in relevant cases, and vulnerable consumers such as youth should be advised that caution is warranted with heavy consumption and/or with concomitant alcohol or drug ingestion.