A bite of hot dog stopped a 9-year-old boy's heart, but not because he choked, according to a case study published today in Pediatrics.

The boy, from Turkey, was eating a hot dog at school when he fainted. He was resuscitated, but then Istanbul doctors heard an unusual heartbeat.

Further tests showed he had a rare heart condition known as Brugada syndrome, which can cause sudden death. A piece of hot dog caused the boy's vagus nerve, which assists heart and gastrointestinal function, to change his heart beat.


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People with Brugada syndrome experience episodes where their heart beats too quickly for normal blood flow. While Brugada syndrome diagnoses are difficult to measure, about 4 out of 1,000 people in the U.S. have tested positive.

The Pediatrics report says this boy's case is a reason why children who've gone into cardiac arrest after eating a meal should be evaluated for the heart condition.

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