9-Year-Old Boy's Heart Stopped After Taking a Single Bite of Hot Dog

In an incident that appeared at first to come out of nowhere, a 9-year-old boy's heart stopped after he took a single bite of a hot dog in Istanbul, according to a recent case study in the journal Pediatrics.

The child didn't choke on his hot dog; the large bite stimulated his vagus nerve, which connects organs (including the heart) to the central nervous system. That stimulation triggered an abnormal heart rhythm, which caused his heart to stop. It's known as Brugada syndrome and is typically asymptomatic and tends to be diagnosed around age 42.

The boy was resuscitated and received a defibrillator implantation, which will deliver a controlled electrical shock and restore regular heart rhythms in case his heart stops again.

Brugada syndrome, which is marked by electrical abnormalities that affect the heart, affects only 4 in every 1,000 people — meaning the average person without the condition won't suffer a heart event linked to an XXL hot dog bite. Unless there's a family history, the condition is often gone undetected until rapid heart beating triggers symptoms such as dizziness, passing out or even death, and leads to a diagnosis.

While hot dogs and other processed meats aren't exactly good for your heart (in fact, they're listed as carcinogens), unless you have Brugada syndrome, your heart likely won't stop the next time you take a massive bite of one.

Photo Credit: Jay Winnington / Unsplash

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