Illusionist David Blaine could die when he begins taking nourishment again after his fast, an expert who has examined his health warned today.
Blaine will need careful monitoring when he comes out of the Perspex box next to London’s Tower Bridge which has been his home for the past 42 days, according to the final pre-exit medical briefing on his condition.
His re-introduction to food must be managed carefully so as to avoid potentially serious problems, including sudden death from “re-feeding syndrome”, the briefing said.
The report from nutrition expert Professor Marinos Elia said Blaine showed several symptoms of starvation and appeared “visibly thinner” than when he entered his box.
The water which has been the only substance Blaine has consumed during the stunt contained no detectable solids, such as glucose or sodium, according to Professor Elia, from the University of Southampton.
Blaine has suffered dizziness and temporary visual problems “as if blacking out” when he stands up and he has felt weaker and more lethargic, the briefing said.
The cold nights have also had “a draining effect” on him.
“These features, which are typical of starvation, have also been accompanied by other symptoms, such as shooting pains in different parts of his body, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and some irregular heart beats.”
The briefing concluded: “There is a need for careful nutritional and clinical management of David Blaine after the fast, not only because of the specific symptoms he has experienced during the fast, but also because inappropriate feeding can precipitate serious problems including sudden death (the re-feeding syndrome).”
Blaine is due to leave his box at 9.30pm tomorrow.
Sky One, which has been filming Blaine’s progress, said an estimated 250,000 people would have visited the site between September 5 and the end of the stunt.