Sudden death after a cold drink: case report

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1999 Mar;20(1):37-9. doi: 10.1097/00000433-199903000-00009.


We report a case of sudden cardiac death in a 12-year-old boy after rapid ingestion of a frozen slurry drink. The cause of death was determined to be a cardiac arrhythmia secondary to a previously undiagnosed cardiac rhabdomyoma with associated myocardial scarring. Ingestion of cold liquids has been associated with syncope, but not sudden cardiac death. In this case, bradycardia induced by cold-induced vasovagal reflex may have precipitated the terminal arrhythmia. Ingestion of cold liquids should be considered a potential trigger for fatal cardiac arrhythmias in patients with underlying heart disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Bradycardia / etiology
  • Bradycardia / physiopathology
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology*
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Heart Atria / pathology
  • Heart Neoplasms / complications
  • Heart Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / complications
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / pathology
  • Vagus Nerve / physiopathology