Boy takes a bite of hot dog, goes into cardiac arrest, triggers study of rare heart condition

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A 9-year-old boy who went into sudden cardiac arrest after taking a large bite of a hot dog confounded doctors and prompted an in-depth study that could save others from the same fate.

It’s not unusual for children to go into cardiac arrest after choking on food, hot dogs included, CNN reported. However, this boy didn’t have any trouble swallowing his meal. Doctors discovered the piece of hot dog had disturbed the boy’s vagus nerve, which triggered an abnormal heart rhythm and immediately sent him into cardiac arrest.  

The source of this rare incident, they found, was Brugada Syndrome (BS), a rare genetic heart condition that affects an estimated four in 1,000 Americans. It’s an unlikely discovery in children, because most people aren’t diagnosed with the condition until at least their 20s.

Turkish doctor Isa Ozyilmaz, MD, led a small team of researchers in her recent study about the case, which was published last week in the medical journal Pediatrics. Her findings led her team to believe children who experience similar incidents, as well as those with a genetic predisposition for the condition, should be screened for BS. After testing, doctors discovered the boy’s brother also suffered from BS.

The boy was successfully resuscitated after the incident and fitted with a defibrillator to prevent repeat incidents.

Read the full CNN story here: