Ryan has a big day today. He has a final exam in algebra class (one of his weakest subjects) and a game against his school’s biggest rival where several college scouts will be in attendance. The extra stress caused him to toss and turn all night, leaving him exhausted this morning.

On the way to school, he quickly stops by the convenience store and grabs a popular energy drink. He doesn’t have time to grab breakfast because he is running late and needs to review his notes before his algebra test in first period.

The test goes well, however Ryan has started to experience some flu-like symptoms — fatigue, light-headedness, dizziness and nausea. The flu has been going around the school, but he shrugs it off. He has to play in the big game; his future depends on it.

At lunch he heads to the cafeteria, grabbing another energy drink on his way. From the cafeteria, he buys a burger patty with cheese and some peanuts, knowing that the extra protein will help him get stronger. But, he is so nervous that he can’t eat and tosses it in the trash. He finishes only the energy drink.

All the scouts have arrived. Ryan is anxious and nervous — jittery, restless and extremely sweaty from the warm-up. Ryan knows he needs to play his best to secure a scholarship, so he quickly downs one more energy drink with sport-enhancing vitamins and minerals (he thinks it will make him more alert and provide extra energy).

Tip off — the game begins. Ryan feels unstoppable as he drains shot after shot. The other team calls a time-out and Ryan heads to the bench. Ryan jumps to chest bump a teammate, but as he lands his eyes blur and he faints, collapsing to the floor. Ryan’s teammates panic, but his coach remains calm and begins CPR while a parent grabs the AED and another calls 911. The AED is connected to Ryan. It evaluates Ryan’s abnormal heart rhythm and signals that a shock is needed. EMTs arrive and quickly evaluate Ryan’s vital signs and ask Ryan’s coach if there is a history of ventricular tachycardia. Ryan’s coach is unaware of any health issues, but tells the EMTs that he has noticed that Ryan drinks several energy drinks each day. The EMTs place Ryan on a gurney, continue CPR with the AED and transport Ryan to the hospital. While in transport, his heart is shocked two more times.

Ryan’s mom, who isn’t at the game because of work, is contacted and instructed to go to the hospital immediately.

  1. Internet Research: Ryan’s coach has noticed that Ryan has been drinking several energy drinks each day. Can energy drinks cause heart issues?

  2. Internet Research: Ventricular tachycardia affects which body system? Define this system.

  3. Internet Research: Ventricular tachycardia is a type of cardiac ventricular arrhythmia. There are four main types of arrhythmia. What are they and what can cause them?

  4. Review the Video: Watch the video on the heart. After viewing it, explain the purpose of the right atria, right ventricle, left atria and left ventricle.