Bodybuilder Diagnosed With Heart Condition Triggered By Drinking Cold Water

Franklin Aribeana Instagram

Franklin Aribeana was hospitalized multiple times before doctors pinpointed his heart condition.

Franklin Aribeana has been hospitalized 25 times over a span of time close to two decades with a heart condition that went undiagnosed. At the age of 35, doctors finally revealed a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation that is triggered when the bodybuilder drinks cold water.

At 18 years old, Aribeana collapsed on a golf course in the summer after taking a drink of water. Since then, there were numerous instances where he collapsed in the gym. Aribeana spoke with local media about his condition and the feeling he gets when drinking water.

“I took a sip of cold water and the next thing you know, literally palpitations out of my chest.

They took off my shirt and you could see my heart literally pounding out of my chest and then I passed out.”

This happened in 2007 and Aribeana has been back to the hospital multiple times since. Finally, Dr. Khashayar Mematpor, a heart disease expert at Texas Medical Center, was able to make sense of Aribeana’s rare condition.

Franklin Aribeana Instagram

Franklin Aribeana Diagnosed With Rare Heart Condition

Atrial fibrillation is the disruption of electric signals, which cause the heart to beat erratically. This is a rare condition that is suffered by less than 2,500 people per year in America.

Doctors found that when the water hit the back of Aribeana’s throat, it irritated the vagus nerve that connects the heart to the brain. This happens because the vagus nerve can activate a response that triggers the slowing of the heart rate to help conserve oxygen as well as tightening the blood vessels in extremities.

“As I’m drinking water, probably the most noticeable thud in my chest. I’d never experience it before…I am taking a gulp of cold water and as I am settling back down, I feel the double thud.”

Aribeana already had an irregular heartbeat and enlarged part. This may cause the eratic heartbeat under stress, such as working out.

Doctors cauterized the connection between the vagus nerve and the heart in Franklin Aribeana. This severed the connection and Aribeana claims that he has not had an issue since this procedure. He has continued to drink cold water and has not faced any concerns. Aribeana remains on medication for his heart.

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Greg Patuto
Greg has covered the four major sports for six years and has been featured on sites such as Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports, SB Nation,, and FanSided. Now, he is transitioning into the world of bodybuilding and strength sports.