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Energy drink-induced cardiomyopathy
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  • Published on:
    Response from authors
    • Andrew D'Silva, consultant cardiologist Department of Cardiology and Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, St Thomas' Hospital

    The association between heart failure and energy drink consumption is based on the entire clinical course rather than the presentation alone. The patient remains in renal failure with renal biochemistry similar to presentation and has not received renal replacement therapy for some time. Despite this, the patient is no longer in heart failure with a significant improvement in cardiac function occurring prior to the introduction of heart failure medications - carvedilol, hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrite. The clinical course of spontaneous recovery was similar to the cited case report from Belzile and colleagues and hence our reason for bringing this to attention and contributing to greater awareness. We welcome the comments and debate as there is no test to confirm the relationship to energy drink intake and therefore extensive clinical characterisation is required to exclude alternative causes of severe heart failure. Severe heart failure which improves spontaneously to this magnitude - LVEF 9% to 51% is particularly rare.

    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Treat all Caffeinated Beverages Equally
    • Tim Kerr, Erased FY2 & Current MSc Neuroscience Student King's College London

    The authors implicate caffeine as the causative agent of the cardiomyopathy in this case, caffeine being the main active ingredient within energy drinks. They ask that we enquire about energy drinks within our social histories; consumption of caffeinated products indeed not part of a standard cardiovascular history (1).

    It is therefore conspicuous that within the article there are no calls to enquire about other, more widely used caffeine containing products, specifically tea and coffee. Dare I say, we would be unlikely to baulk at the idea of a patient drinking three or four coffees in a day. In fact, on the wards we offer patients tea or coffee eight times a day, yet think little of the caffeine burden we are imposing upon them. This almost tacit caffeine consumption is unlikely to make it into the medical notes, yet these patients would potentially be consuming levels of caffeine far in excess of the quantity consumed in this case report.

    We seem to apply different value judgements to different drinks, assuming those drinking excess caffeine from expensive coffee machines are doing so knowingly, and as part of a healthy lifestyle. Yet we don’t afford those choosing to consume energy drinks with the same level of ability to make an informed choice. We medicalise the consumption of such drinks, assuming those using them must be doing so for sinister reasons.

    We should treat all caffeinated products equally, given there is no pharmacological differen...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.