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August 27, 1973

Arrhythmia and Diet

Author Affiliations

Naval Hospital Boston

JAMA. 1973;225(9):1124. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220370062033

To the Editor.—  I was very interested in the timely critique of low-carbohydrate diets recently published by the Council on Foods and Nutrition (224:1415, 1973) and wish to present a possible complication of such a diet.A 23-year-old white male ensign noted the onset of dyspnea on exertion and a rapid heart rate after a 9-kg weight loss in one month on the Atkins diet. These symptoms persisted for four weeks after discontinuation of the diet, and he sought medical attention. An electrocardiogram showed atrial flutter-fibrillation with a ventricular rate of about 140 beats per minute. There was no history of rheumatic heart disease, hyperthyroidism, drug or alcohol abuse, and no personal or family history of ischemic heart disease. The patient drank one to two cups of coffee and smoked one pack of cigarettes daily. Results of his physical examination were entirely normal except for tachycardia. A complete blood cell count,