A man has sadly died after reportedly downing 1.5 litres of Coca-Cola in 10 minutes during a heatwave, claim doctors in China.
The unnamed 22-year-old went to Chaoyang Hospital in Beijing with severe stomach pains and swelling six hours after drinking the coke to cool himself down.
He also had an extremely rapid heart rate, worryingly low blood pressure, and was breathing very quickly.
Doctors who detailed the death in the Clinics and Research in Hepatology and Gastroenterology journal explained that chugging the drink that fast caused pneumatosis, an abnormal build-up of gas in the man's intestines and portal vein.
They believe that this started to starve the supply of oxygen to his liver, causing hepatic ischemia (also known as 'liver shock') which resulted in his death.
Qiang He, lead author of the report, said doctor's 'immediately' set about trying to relieve the gas and gave the man medication. He died after 18 hours of treatment.
However, a British expert has questioned the testimony of the Chinese doctors and reckons it is very unlikely that the fizzy drink was the cause of death.
Professor Nathan Davies, a biochemist at University College London, told the Daily Mail: "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 that more information would be needed to make any firm conclusions, but speculated that a bacterial infection may have been at fault.
"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 explained.
"It's possible, but not necessary that likely, that drinking a large amount of carbonated drink could have had an exacerbating affect."
"But with no underlying condition it is very hard to see what could have happened."
Professor Davies also added that gas in the portal vein does not explain why the man's liver was starved of oxygen.
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