A 9-year-old boy from Turkey experienced a severe incidence of cardiac arrest at lunchtime after eating just one bite of a hot dog.
The boy was rushed to the nearest medical center and resuscitated, so he survived the deadly dog. And as it turns out, hot dogs are still (relatively) safe for the rest of us. Upon investigation, medical professionals discovered that the boy was living with a rare and dangerous condition called Brugada syndrome. The boy’s heart attack wasn’t brought about by a reaction to processed meat in particular — it was actually very likely caused by a big bite.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ report on the findings, “Patients who are diagnosed with Brugada syndrome usually experience sudden cardiac arrest and arrhythmia when they have a high fever, consume alcohol, and, more frequently, during their night sleep.” In some rare cases, however, cardiac arrest can be instigated by stimulation of the vagus nerve — which is exactly what happened after that ambitious first bite of the boy’s lunch.
The vagus nerve is responsible for regulating major functions of the heart, digestive system, and lungs — so it’s kind of a big deal. The nerve can usually handle itself, even after you’ve swallowed large chunks of food, but a suspicious reading on the boy's electrocardiogram showed irregularities related to the vagus nerve and tipped off doctors to his condition. For this reason, the AAP recommends, “the electrocardiographic results of the children who had a cardiac arrest after eating a large meal with big bites should be evaluated in detail.”
Just how big was that bite, anyway? Here are 75 of America’s best, most ambitious dogs.