According to a lot of sources you could suffer a stroke or heart attack by getting a hickey. However I can't find any papers on the matter. Since this lead to a heated argument between me and my girlfriend, me using the argument that even a lot of newspapers would publish hoax stories if they sell more copies because of it. So my question is, is it true?

The top 4 google result lead to:

  • 2
    Welcome to Skeptics! The trouble with linking to a Google search is we all get different results. The top links on mine all say that hickeys cannot cause heart attacks. Can you please link to two or three specific claims?
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 10, 2016 at 1:11
  • I would think that a very young, sexy, attractive lady with very little clothing administering a hickey to my middle-aged person might, indeed, induce a cardiac event. I'm not sure that it's the hickey, itself, that would be considered the cause, though. Sep 13, 2016 at 14:49

1 Answer 1


There seem to be two cases where hickeys may have caused strokes.

One in 2010 in New Zealand and one in 2016 in Mexico.

The case from 2016 is probably too recent to be mentioned in any papers, but here is the case report for the 2010 case, published by the New Zealand Medical Association:

We report on an interesting case of blunt carotid artery trauma caused by a love bite. Blunt carotid artery trauma can lead to arterial injury, thrombosis and cerebral embolisation. It is a rare phenomenon and diagnosis requires a high index of suspicion. Current literature suggests a conservative approach to treatment with anticoagulation. Most patients achieve a favourable outcome especially when initial neurology was non-disabling.

  • Yes we refer to the same source, but I'm doubting it's credibilaty. I was looking for scientific papers (studies) not newspapers. So is there any real scientist who would back up these claims?
    – Thomas
    Sep 10, 2016 at 17:27
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    @Thomas The new zealand medical journal is peer-reviewed. I doubt you will find more credible sources for a medical issue that appears to only have affect two people.
    – tim
    Sep 10, 2016 at 18:38
  • So the answer is "Yes,it's possible, but it's incredibly unlikely." You are more likely to be killed by a falling piano. Sep 10, 2016 at 20:25

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