A 32-year-old British woman is being held in the United Arab Emirates after she reportedly brushed against a woman who later died of a heart attack.

The British tourist rode the same hotel lift as the 60-year-old German citizen "of Arab origin" and reportedly brushed against her shoulder when exiting the lift.

The 60-year-old woman then collapsed and died in the lift after the British woman left. The dead woman's family blamed the Briton for her fatal heart attack and filed a complaint with local police, the Daily Mail reported.

The reported incident occurred in a hotel in the Al Tawoun area of Sharjar, a city north of Dubai.

Police later detained the British woman and questioned her. She said the touch had been unintentional.

"We inspected the CCTV of the hotel which showed that the British woman slightly touching the elderly woman," a police spokesperson told Gulf News.

The British woman, who was getting ready to leave the UAE on the day of the incident, was released on bail and ordered to remain in the country. According to Gulf News, the incident has been referred to the public prosecution for further action.

A spokesperson for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said: "Our staff are assisting a British woman in Dubai, and are in contact with the UAE authorities about her case."