Energy Drinks Linked to Enlarged Hearts

The more we learn about energy drinks, the more dangerous they appear.

Recent research suggests a link between energy drinks and enlarged hearts (cardiomegaly)—a condition that can result in heart failure or the type of sudden cardiac deaths suffered by Anais Fournier and Cory Terry, among other caffeine casualties.

An enlarged heart is one that grows too large to pump blood effectively. It is a dangerous condition that can lead to cardiovascular trauma.

A number of factors can cause an enlarged heart, but the most common is high blood pressure—which is where energy drinks come in.

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Energy Drinks Raise Blood Pressure, Cause Heart Problems

A November 2015 study in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that consuming a single energy drink triggered a significant increase in blood pressure in healthy adults. The same study found that the energy drink doubled participants’ stress hormones.

If a single energy drink raises a person’s blood pressure “significantly,” what do two do? Or three? What about three a day for a year? Many people consume energy drinks with great regularity and frequency, in part because the drinks’ labels do not warn consumers of the cardiovascular risks.

Another 2015 study, this one by the International Journal of Cardiology, found a strong correlation between energy drinks and patients with heart palpitations. (These patients were deemed otherwise healthy and not at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.) Furthermore, patients who consumed two or more energy drinks a day were much more likely to experience heart palpitations and chest pain.

The data leaves no doubt: energy drinks raise blood pressure and cause myriad other heart problems. As high blood pressure is the leading cause of cardiomegaly, it stands to reason that energy drinks also increase the risk of an enlarged heart.

Unfortunately, this link becomes even more pronounced when one examines the autopsies of caffeine casualties like Cory Terry.

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Many Energy Drink Victims Have Enlarged Hearts

In April 2008, a Bolivian man living in England named Alfredo Duran went into cardiac arrest and died after consuming four cans of Red Bull a night. A post-mortem revealed that Mr. Duran had an enlarged heart.

In 2011, a Brooklyn man named Cory Terry drank a Red Bull in between basketball games at a middle school near his home. Moments later, he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the court. He was rushed to a medical center and later pronounced dead. Mr. Terry, too, had an enlarged heart.

Anais Fournier, Alex Morris Among Notable Victims

Later that year, a 14-year-old girl named Anais Fournier suffered cardiac arrest and died after drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster Energy in less than 24 hours. Ms. Fournier had an enlarged heart, which was one of the “preexisting conditions” Monster blamed for her death, before later settling a wrongful death suit—one of many. (Note: Even if energy drinks merely exacerbate heart conditions—which is debatable—their labels have to indicate that. The labels don’t.)

While it’s unclear whether 19-year-old Alex Morris had an enlarged heart when he went into cardiac arrest and died after consuming Monster, we do know that his family’s wrongful death lawsuit listed an enlarged heart as one of several cardiovascular risks about which Monster does not warn consumers.

Not that the company cares. Business, after all, has never been better.

Energy Drink Industry Booming Despite Health Risks

Monster’s net sales in the first quarter of 2016 totaled $680 million—even higher than experts projected, and a 16% increase over the first quarter of 2015. Its partnership with Coca-Cola (which bought a 16.7% stake in Monster in 2014) has expanded the energy drink company’s resources and reach, allowing it to flourish worldwide.

Despite health concerns and a seemingly endless cycle of litigation over consumer deaths and injuries, the energy drink industry as a whole continues to grow. From 2009 to 2014, the market grew by 56%. From 2014 to 2019, analysts expect a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12-13%.

Morgan & Morgan Fighting Back

Morgan & Morgan refuses to allow this public health crisis to proceed unabated. We have already filed dozens of lawsuits to hold Monster, Red Bull, and other energy drink companies accountable for their inadequate warnings and severe side effects.

If you or someone you know has experienced heart problems, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, kidney failure, or another injury after consuming energy drinks, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.