Monday, June 3, 2013

Heart problems plaguing top athletes

By Phil Taylor

With Hamish Carter the latest high-profile athlete to suffer heart problems, Phil Taylor investigates whether training programmes are excessive
Studies have shown that veteran athletes may be 5 times more at risk of atrial fibrillation - Hamish Carter's arrhythmia.  

Hamish Carter is the latest in a series of elite endurance athletes to have encountered heart problems. An electrical charge was recently used to shock it back into normal rhythm.
The appearance of his condition comes as scientists are finding a possible link between extreme endurance sport and dangerous heart arrhythmias.

Carter, who won the triathlon at the 2004 Athens Olympics, was last year diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, an arrhythmia estimated to cause 15 per cent of all strokes. Abnormal electrical impulses cause the upper chambers to beat chaotically and out of sync with the lower chambers, causing poor blood flow to the body. His heart rhythm has been consistent since it was restarted but he was told to expect it to return.

If it re-occurs often he may need an operation, called ablation, to cauterise the heart tissue that triggers the irregular heartbeat.

Rower Rob Waddell, Tour de France cyclist Hayden Roulston and triple Olympic champion Sir Peter Snell are other star Kiwi athletes to have developed heart issues.
World champion Australian triathletes Greg Welch and Emma Carney both ended their careers suddenly and had defibrillator pacemakers implanted following repeated severe arrhythmias of the right ventricle - a condition associated with sudden death.  Read More

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