A student who died on a nightclub dancefloor in front of friends suffered a heart condition that may have been triggered by caffeine in the Red Bull she had been drinking, a British court was told Monday.
Chloe Leach, 21, collapsed at a nightclub in East Yorks, England after drinking several cans of the caffeine drink last September.
A coroner heard how Leach, who was studying at the University of Lincoln’s Hull campus, died from cardiac arrhythmia which affects the heart’s rhythm.
But neuro-pathologist Ian Scott said it was less clear what caused the arrhythmia in the young woman, who was an epileptic.
Scott told the inquest the most likely cause was a condition called long QT syndrome, which affects the organ’s electric pulse.
He said tests Leach had taken after her mother suffered a heart attack showed her heart was at the “upper limit of normal”.
The pathologist said the high levels of caffeine she ingested when she drank at least four cans of Red Bull could her pushed her heart over this threshold into abnormal.
The doctor said it was also possible Leach’s heart could have deteriorated in the five years since she was last tested.
The court heard how, in a remarkable coincidence, a man named Danny Latimer also collapsed in the same venue — The Sugar Mill club — that night.
Tests later showed Latimer’s drink had been spiked with the drug GHB.
But Detective Ian Dobson told the court police could find no evidence Leach’s drink had also been spiked and no connections at all between the two incidents.
Hull coroner Geoffrey Saul recorded that Leach died of natural causes. He said he was confident the cardiac arrhythmia was the cause of her death.