A young boy in Turkey almost died after taking a large bite of a hot dog, and a rare heart condition is to blame.
A medical report published by doctors in Istanbul states that the 9-year-old boy went into cardiac arrest and collapsed after biting into a frankfurter at school, according to HealthDay News.
Luckily, the boy survived after being “defibrillated and resuscitated for 30 minutes,” noted the case study, which was originally published in the medical journal Pediatrics. He was later sent to a hospital specializing in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, where he was examined by Dr. Isa Ozyilmaz.
Ozyilmaz ran a series of tests and found the boy has Brugada syndrome, a rare but serious heart defect.
A piece of hot dog that he consumed caused his vagus nerve, which assists heart and gastrointestinal function, to change his heart beat. The vagus nerve runs all the way down from the brain to the gut and helps both your heart and digestive system to function properly.
Brugada Syndrome was first described in 1992 in a series of patients with sudden death who had similar, peculiar electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities. It was later found that many of these patients had abnormal function of their sodium ion channels. Patients with Brugada Syndrome develop ventricular tachycardia, a condition where the heart beats too quickly to maintain normal blood flow. Brugada Syndrome is rare. Although the number of patients with the condition is difficult to measure, approximately 4 out of 1,000 people in the United States have ECG findings of Brugada Syndrome. The condition is found more commonly in men and although more common in those of Asian descent, those of European background can also be affected. The average age at diagnosis is 42, but the condition can present itself at any age.
The diagnosis of Brugada Syndrome can be difficult to make. Most patients do not suffer any symptoms until their first episode of ventricular tachycardia, which can cause dizziness, syncope (passing out) or even death. These episodes typically occur during sleep. The correct diagnosis hinges on the presence of the characteristic ECG findings in someone who had syncope or near sudden death. The ECG findings alone, without syncope, are not sufficient to make the diagnosis of “Brugada Syndrome”. Those who have ECG findings suspicious for the diagnosis, but who have not had syncope, are said to have a “Brugada Pattern”, and are treated differently.
The classic ECG findings of a classic “Type I Brugada Pattern” consists of a right bundle branch block with down-sloping ST segment elevations greater than 2mm and inverted T waves in leads V1 through V3. Type 2 and 3 Brugada Patterns also have a right bundle branch block-like pattern, but the ST segment has a saddleback appearance and T wave inversion is not as marked.
There is currently no “cure” for Brugada Syndrome and no medications that eliminate the risk of sudden death. However placement of an implantable cardiac defibrillator nearly eliminates the risk of dying suddenly from ventricular tachycardia. There are recommendations against competitive sports and potential complications from defibrillators. However, patients with a diagnosis of Brugada Syndrome who have defibrillators can essentially lead normal, productive lives.