21-year-old suffered heart failure after having four cans of energy drink every day for two years

A 21-year-old university student suffered heart failure after "excessive" consumption of energy drinks, a medical journal report has revealed.

The man drank four 500ml cans every day for two years, leaving him in intensive care and unable to complete his studies, the BMJ Case Report shows.

For four months he suffered shortness of breath and severe weight loss, before being admitted to hospital.

He spent 58 days there, including a period in intensive care, which he described as "traumatising".

Doctors considered giving him an organ transplant after tests revealed both his heart and kidneys had failed.

The kidney failure was linked to a long-standing but previously undiagnosed condition, the article’s authors from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London noted.

"We report a case of severe biventricular heart failure potentially related to excessive energy drink consumption in a 21-year-old man," they said.

"Energy drink-induced cardiotoxicity" was the "most likely cause" of his heart failure, they added.

The student, who was not named in the report, had no other medical history, but the cans he was drinking contained 160mg of caffeine each.

Contributing to the article himself, he said he suffered painful withdrawal symptoms when he wasn’t consuming the energy drinks and called for better warnings on labels.

"When I was drinking up to four energy drinks per day, I suffered from tremors and heart palpitations, which interfered with my ability to concentrate on daily tasks and my studies at university," he said.

"I also suffered from severe migraine headaches which would often occur during the periods when I did not drink energy drink; this also restricted my ability to perform day-to-day tasks and even leisurely activities such as going to the park or taking a walk.

"I was eventually admitted to the intensive care unit. This experience was extremely traumatising.

"I think there should be more awareness about energy drinks and the effect of their contents. I believe they are very addictive and far too accessible to young children."

The case follows a study by academics at Cardiff University that showed 6% of pupils surveyed drank energy drinks every day.

The participants were aged between 11 and 16 and questioned between 2013 and 2017.

Trends in energy drink consumption did not change over time, the academics said.

"The daily use of energy drinks among a proportion of young people has not declined – and our study reveals a widening disparity in consumption rates between those from low and high socioeconomic groups," the study’s lead author Dr Kelly Morgan added.

"Their popularity is unlikely to wane unless legislative and policy measures are put in place."

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