Alcohol Poisoning and Cardiac Arrest
David Bogenberger died of cardiac arrest due to alcohol poisoning – his blood alcohol level was five times the legal limit.
Alcohol poisoning occurs when a person drinks too much alcohol in a short amount of time, causing difficulty breathing, confusion, blue or pale skin, hypothermia, seizures, vomiting, passing out, and death.
Those who do survive alcohol poisoning can have irreversible brain damage due to the lack of oxygen to the brain.
Bogenberger suffered a heart attack from alcohol poisoning because alcohol disrupts the body’s internal ‘pacemaker’ that keeps the heart beating consistently and at the correct speed.
In essence, too much alcohol causes the heart to beat irregularly or too quickly, which can result in a heart attack.
Alcohol Poisoning: What You Can Do
If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, (even if they don’t have all or any of the symptoms) you can call your local poison control center.
However, if the person is unconscious, vomiting, and/or breathing less than eight breaths a minute, call 911. Do not leave an unconscious person alone. Even though they aren’t drinking anymore, alcohol continues to be released in the bloodstream, and can cause their blood alcohol levels to continue to rise.
The best option is to not let drinking-related accidents happen in the first place. Standing up to hazing and other bullying activities, and avoiding binge drinking, can help prevent people from getting hurt and can even help prevent deaths like Bogenberger’s.
Fox News. 22 fraternity members facing charges in Ill. after student dies following night of drinking. (2012). Accessed December 18, 2012.
StopHazing. Hazing Defined. (2012). Accessed December 18, 2012.
Mayo Clinic. Alcohol Poisoning. (2010). Accessed December 18, 2012.
College Drinking Prevention. Examples of Alcohol’s Effects on Organ Function. (2010). Accessed December 18, 2012.
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