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Lisa Salberg Find out more about Lisa Salberg
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  • Lisa Salberg
    Re: OLYMPIC BREASTROKE athlete has HCM

    It is always great to agree to disagree -

    In Italy they have very few deaths on the athletic field - the leading cause of SD in Italy is ARVD - as it is the hardest to catch on Echo/ECG.

    The debate continues - but maintaining life will always be the "gold metal".


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  • djs
    Re: OLYMPIC BREASTROKE athlete has HCM

    Originally posted by Glen Beamish
    Sounds like the Italians have it right.
    Respectfully disagree

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  • Glen Beamish
    Re: OLYMPIC BREASTROKE athlete has HCM

    Sounds like the Italians have it right.
    Sorry Burt, but the Javelin catch has already been done.
    Ever see that guy on TV who actually did get hit with the javelin while he was officiating.

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  • Brownie
    Re: OLYMPIC BREASTROKE athlete has HCM

    Hi everyone:

    I also heard the commentators talking about the swimmer who needed a defibrillator, and was intrigued so I did some checking. The reports are somewhat confusing (one reported that she was diagnosed with radio frequency ablation and fortunately did not have the more serious Long QT syndrome) but I think that it's a case of Long QT. The swimmer is Dana Volmer from Texas.

    When I mentioned it to Olivia's EP yesterday, she said that Long QT has four different trigger types, one of which is set off by sudden exposure to water....she figured that they could safely rule out that type for Volmer. :P

    Have a great day, everyone.


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  • Lisa Salberg
    Re: OLYMPIC BREASTROKE athlete has HCM

    Already checked that out - she had a radoi frequency ablation - I would suspect she had WPW as it is easily correct with this procedure.


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  • Largehearted
    Re: OLYMPIC BREASTROKE athlete has HCM

    Burt you make me laugh even at 5:15!

    Last night there was an American swimmer (woman) about whom the anouncer said, "...because of her heart condition she has to have a defribrilator nearby at all times, especially when she compeats." Did anyone else hear that? I wonder what her condition is?


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  • Burton Borrok
    Re: OLYMPIC BREASTROKE athlete has HCM

    And that’s why I can no longer compete in the Olympic Games. I wanted to be the oldest competitor too. My specialty was the Javelin Catch, but I was also thinking of going out for the Hammer Catch and the Shot Put Catch.

    I had given up all hope of competing in the Archery Catch – I just didn’t think my scooter could keep up. Maybe if I got an off-road motorbike? Nagh, by the next Olympics I’ll be seventy-eight – let the young bucks have a shot at it.

    And so ends the illustrious/hilarious career of a super/stupor athlete.

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  • Ronnie
    Re: OLYMPIC BREASTROKE athlete has HCM

    Thanks for sharing that with us

    Leave a comment:

  • Lisa Salberg
    started a topic OLYMPIC BREASTROKE athlete has HCM




    Italy's Domenico Fioravanti won two gold medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, for the men's 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke. But when he goes to Athens this year, it will be as a television commentator, not as a competitor.

    His fans will have seen him most recently in the reality TV show "La
    Fattoria," or "The Farm." In fact, he hasn't been in a swimming pool at all this year -- though not by choice. In January, the 27-year-old was diagnosed with an inherited heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, and, under Italian law, he was forced to retire from competitive sport.

    Fioravanti suffers from the same genetic problem that killed Cameroonian
    soccer player Marc-Vivien Foe in June 2003 while he was playing in the
    Confederations Cup semifinal against Colombia, followed seven months later by Hungarian Miklos Feher, who died while playing for Portuguese soccer team Benfica.

    Both men died on the pitch -- suddenly, and in front of the cameras. Even
    though Fioravanti knows he has the same condition and is well aware of the risks, his family is campaigning for a relaxation of the Italian law. They want him to keep on swimming or at least to have the option.

    HCM is the leading cause of sudden death in people under the age of 30. It
    is caused by the accumulation of an abnormal protein inside sarcomeres, which
    are a basic component of heart muscle cells. This causes the cells to grow too
    large and in a shambolic fashion, particularly around the left ventricle. As the
    muscles thicken, the heart can develop an irregular beat and runs the risk of
    stopping completely. About 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent of the world's population
    has HCM. Each year, about 1 percent of these die. The extra strain of excessive
    exercise is thought to trigger sudden death in people with the underlying

    Doctors can diagnose HCM through imaging studies, treat it with drugs or
    surgery and implant a defibrillator to kick-start the heart back into action
    should there be a major problem. But it is still difficult to assess the risk of
    sudden death in any given patient. Fioravanti's frustration stems from this
    final fact. To all appearances, his condition is mild.

    "At this point, I could state that he has a low probability of dying
    suddenly, even doing active sport," says Franco Cecchi, the cardiologist at the
    University of Florence who confirmed his diagnosis. Yet in Italy, the mere
    confirmation of the condition means that Fioravanti is banned from competitive

    In Italy, uniquely, athletes are required by law to get an annual fitness
    certificate before being allowed to take part in any competitive event. As part
    of this assessment they are given an electrocardiogram, or ECG, and questioned
    about their family history. If there is a suspicion of disease, they go on to
    have an echocardiogram, or echo -- an ultrasound scan of the heart and valves,
    which provides information about muscle thickness and the size of the heart's
    chambers. If this shows an abnormality, the athlete is automatically
    disqualified -- unless the sport is considered low risk, such as snooker or
    archery. If an athlete sneaks through the system and goes on to die while
    playing, the doctor who signed the authorizing certificate can be held liable if
    found negligent.

    Even if the issue of diagnosis can be cracked, it still leaves policy-makers
    and athletes with the dilemma of what to do with the information. One case
    frequently discussed by doctors concerned about this issue is that of Nicholas
    Knapp. A talented 17-year-old basketball player, Knapp had already been offered
    a sports scholarship at Northwestern University when his heart stopped at the
    end of a game in 1994. He was resuscitated, diagnosed with HCM and surgically
    implanted with a defibrillator. Nevertheless, he accepted the sports
    scholarship. The university allowed him to keep the scholarship, but barred him
    from playing intercollegiate basketball on medical grounds.

    A lengthy court battle ensued, in which Knapp argued that the choice was
    his, even if by playing he risked death. Northwestern's decision was eventually
    upheld, but Knapp was free to enroll in another university's basketball program,
    and did so. Three years after his first cardiac arrest, he suffered an episode
    of tachyarrhythmia -- an abnormally fast and irregular heartbeat. His
    defibrillator discharged, probably preventing a second arrest and saving his

    Since Knapp's case, it has been hard for athletes with a known condition to
    play competitively in the United States.

    But 10 years on, there are still no formal laws to govern these decisions,
    only guidelines. HCM patients had to wait until this June for a guide on
    participating in recreational sports. The American Heart Association recommends
    that people avoid burst activities such as sprinting, and rates the advisability
    of different sports for people with different conditions. Swimming is listed as
    "probably permitted" for HCM patients -- although this is not meant to apply to
    athletes at the Olympic level.

    GRAPHIC: Doug Mills/Associated Press
    Italian swimmer Domenico Fioravanti, left, celebrates winning the gold medal in
    the men's 200-meter breaststroke with teammate Davide Rummolo, who captured the
    bronze medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.