Health | Food

9-Year-Old Boy's Heart Stops After Biting Into A Hotdog

We are all aware that processed meats such as hot dogs can pose a health risk, but most of us never expect those harmful effects to be instantaneous.

A nine-year-old Turkish boy was enjoying a hot dog, but after taking a big bite he suddenly collapsed. People around him assumed he was choking, but it was much, much worse.

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Thankfully, paramedics got to the scene in time to resuscitate the young lad before transporting him to the hospital. He was immediately admitted and doctors ran tests to determine what could have caused him to lose consciousness out of nowhere.

It turned out that the boy had suffered a cardiac arrest. However, it was what the doctors discovered about the cause of the heart attack that has this story going viral.

So what really happened?

According to a study published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, the young boy's sudden heart cardiac arrest was indeed caused by the hot dog, but this happened because he suffers from a condition called Brugada Syndrome.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Brugada syndrome is caused by a defect in the cells that make the heart beat. Many people who have the disorder are not aware of it because the symptoms tend to go unnoticeable.

The condition has been known to cause cardiac arrest in patients when they have "high fever, consume alcohol or while they're asleep."

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On rare occasions, those affected by Brugada syndrome can also experience heart attacks if the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain through the face to the gut, is stimulated.

In this boy's case, the frankfurter stimulated the nerve when he swallowed the piece of meat.

Although the boy's story is alarming, pediatric cardiology expert Dr. Anne Dublin says this is a very rare occurrence.

"People shouldn't panic about Brugada syndrome," she told CNN. "If you have a family history of people dying suddenly with no known reason or if you have someone in your family who has been diagnosed with Brugada syndrome as an adult, children need to be evaluated for it, and we need to know about it."

About 4 in 1,000 people in the U.S have tested positive for Brugada syndrome. Treatment usually involves an implantable device that monitors and controls heartbeat.

If you suspect you or someone you know may have this condition, you should see a doctor immediately.

As for hot dogs, they're still one of the top causes for food-related choking in kids under three, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, so it may be a good idea to keep it away from your kids.