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Image of BBC headline linking shallow breathing to heart attacks is bogus

March 16, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: BBC News published an article stating breathing too often can cause a heart attack.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. An image being shared on social media that appears to show a BBC story was fabricated. The news organization did not publish such an article.

THE FACTS: A post circulating on social media since at least February is made to appear that it comes from BBC News. “Breathing too many times a day could raise your risk of a deadly heart attack,” states the headline on the bogus post, which features a photo of a man holding his hand over his heart.

Details under the headline state: “Trial found that people who breathe more than 5 percent above the daily average had a rise in blood pressure and increased risk of myocarditis.”

The Twitter user that shared the fabricated post wrote, “So now breathing causes heart attacks. #VaccineSideEffects.”

But the information is fictional. No such article can be found on the BBC News website and the headline’s font in the post does not match that used by the BBC, which is referred to as “BBC Reith.” The photo can be found on Getty Images.

The Associated Press has published multiple stories debunking posts misrepresenting the risk of developing myocarditis, or heart inflammation, from the COVID-19 vaccine. The rare and serious side effect associated with Pfizer and Moderna’s shots often occurs in young men and teen boys. But officials have concluded the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks; COVID-19 itself can also cause myocarditis.

The AP reached out to the BBC for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.