Chinese man, 22, died after downing a 1.5litre Coca Cola bottle in 10 minutes to help cool off in hot weather, doctors claim
- The 22 year old had guzzled the drink in order to help him cool off on a hot day
- Hours later he was rushed to hospital in severe pain and a distended belly
- Doctors say gas built up inside his gut before leaking to other parts of his body
- But UK expert is sceptical and says fizzy drinks pose no major risk to health
Published: 11:07 BST, 24 September 2021 | Updated: 11:07 BST, 24 Se
A 22-year-old man died after chugging a 1.5litre bottle of Coca Cola in 10 minutes, doctors have revealed.
Medics say the Chinese man’s rapid consumption led to a fatal build-up of gas inside his body, which starved his liver of oxygen and eventually killed him.
The man, who wasn’t identified, went to hospital six hours after consuming the fizzy drink, complaining of severe pain and a swollen stomach.
He told doctors at Beijing’s Chaoyang Hospital he had rapidly downed 1.5L of Coca Cola to help cool off due to the hot weather.
Chugging the beverage so quickly led to gas gathering in his intestines, which due to the pressure then leaked into his portal vein, one of the liver’s main blood vessels.
This caused fatal damage, according to doctors who detailed the case in Clinics and Research in Hepatology and Gastroenterology.
Tests carried out on the man when he was first assessed by doctors showed several worrying signs.
The man, who wasn’t thought to have any underlying health issues, had an elevated heart rate, low blood pressure, and was breathing rapidly.
CT scans found he had pneumatosis, an abnormal presence of gas, in the wall of his intestine and his portal vein.
The scans also revealed he had hepatic ischemia, also called ‘shock liver’, a type of injury caused by low oxygen supply to the organ, which doctors believe was related to the presence of gas in the portal vein.
Lead author of the case report, Qiang He, said medical staff ‘immediately’ set about trying to release the gas from the man’s digestive system.
He was also given medication to help protect his liver and to try to stabilise his other body functions from further damage.
After 12 hours, blood tests showed the man had serious liver damage. His condition deteriorated further and he died 18 hours after treatment.
One British expert today questioned the true cause of the death however, insisting it was unlikely that downing 1.5L of Coca Cola was to blame.
Professor Nathan Davies, a biochemist at University College London, told MailOnline: ‘The chances of downing 1.5 litres, or a little over three pints, of a regular soft drink being fatal would be very, very unlikely, I mean, staggeringly unlikely.’
He said more information was needed than that provided in the report to draw any firm conclusions on killed the man.
And he speculated that a bacterial infection, a known cause of a gas build-up internally, may have been to blame rather than the soft drink.
Professor Davies explained that these bacteria can form gas pockets, causing issues similar to the ones the man experienced before his death.
‘Usually this type of condition is caused because you have bacteria that has made its way from the normal gastrointestinal tract to somewhere they are not supposed to be, in this case, in the lining of the small intestine,’ he said.
The gas produced in the intestines can then leak into other connected areas of the body, like the portal vein.
Professor Davies said that while it was possible consuming a large soft drink may have added to this gas problem, such a combination would be extremely unlikely.
Volume 45, Issue 3, May 2021, 101682
Image of the month Cola-caused inflated liver
Author links open overlay panelShaochengLyu1FangfeiWang1QiangHeDepartment of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, Capital Medical University, 8 Gongtinan Road, Chaoyang District, 100020 Beijing, China
Available online 20 April 2021.