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Kirchen has heart attack

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May 15, 2010
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thehog said:
If this is drug related I think its the end of cycling. For good.

RIP Professional cycling.

Hog, I don't think anyone has not thought that something like that could have been the cause.

Now is not the time to have that discussion. That's why no one else has brought it up until now.
 
I re-directed two smaller threads from the Clinic to here. While we normally wish to avoid doping related discussions in this section, if there are valid links or assertions to be made, that is fine, just avoid wild speculation here at this time. So far this thread is doing good.

If it turns out to be linked to doping, then we can move the discussion to the Clinic.

In the meantime, let's hope Kim gets a full recovery.
 
Apr 11, 2009
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Not necessarily PED related. If he's had cardiac arrythmia or some such defect, it could be an unrelated physical defect. Seemed he had this prob. in spring.

Haydon Roulston had a prob. with heart arrythmia or something, but doesn't seem nearly this serious. He's okay.

Quite a few basketball and junior hockey players who have had undetected heart ailments. Dangerous in sports with surges. Sudden death risk.

Racing with this risk must be horrible.
 
thehog said:
If this is drug related I think its the end of cycling. For good.

RIP Professional cycling.

People have died from doping before. I dont think it would hurt cycling too much.

I hope hes ok. From what i heard heart attacks are extremely painful. Then again as a endurance cyclists Kirchen probably has the balls to take the pain. Unlike me.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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bobs *** said:
Hog, I don't think anyone has not thought that something like that could have been the cause.

Now is not the time to have that discussion. That's why no one else has brought it up until now.

I agree. I know several cyclists that had arythmia problems and it was scary for them. One got a heart valve nerve that was mis-firing neutralized in an equally scary procedure and continues racing today. Kirchen needs some air for the time being.
 
May 13, 2009
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I hope he makes a full recovery, but likely his professional cycling career might be over (depending on the precise diagnosis, of course).

Does anyone know at what stage he was in terms of race preparation? What were his plans for this season?
 
Apr 29, 2009
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One guess is that it could be a pulmonary embolism. That would explain the induced coma. They usually do that to reduce the chance of brain damage from lack of oxygen to the brain.
 
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Mellow Velo said:
Yes.
Shock and confusion all around.
Hope he makes a full recovery.

We will have to wait to get the definitive diagnosis.

Yes, let's all wait to see why and how before we jump to any idiotic conclusions, please!
 
Jul 27, 2009
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Another rider with heart problems...

As another example of a rider with serious heart problems, former Rabobank rider Will Walker retired after three seasons because of tachycardia. Here's an interview with him.

It's rare, but highly fit athletes in their 20s and 30s do sometimes suffer problems like this.

I hope Kirchen makes a speedy recovery and is able to continue his cycling career safely.
 
Jul 6, 2009
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one of my best childhood friends dropped dead doing basketball sprints at 20 he had no prior warning sings of any kind and was an athlete. autopsy showed he had an undetected heart condition. drugs were in no way involved. this sometimes happens to athletes it does not have anything to do with doping automatically at all. why not wait and see i doubt kim.k's problem was caused by doping directly.
 
forty four said:
one of my best childhood friends dropped dead doing basketball sprints at 20 he had no prior warning sings of any kind and was an athlete. autopsy showed he had an undetected heart condition. drugs were in no way involved. this sometimes happens to athletes it does not have anything to do with doping automatically at all. why not wait and see i doubt kim.k's problem was caused by doping directly.

Same as happened to Friederik Nolf, iirc. Kim's already had issues with his heart in the past, so it may well be natural.

Sure, when the number of soccer players dying onfield from heart-related injuries increases by 550% over a 20 year period, then questions will be raised if a fit and healthy athlete in their 30s suffers heart problems. But just because a statistic and a perception fits doping into the puzzle doesn't mean the pieces fit in every case.
 
May 9, 2009
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thehog said:
If this is drug related I think its the end of cycling. For good.

RIP Professional cycling.


Yeah, right. Did Senna's death mean the end of F1? Face it, even with the doping, the risks cyclists take are way less than the risks we expect a lot of our other sporting heroes to take.
 
stephens said:
Yeah, right. Did Senna's death mean the end of F1? Face it, even with the doping, the risks cyclists take are way less than the risks we expect a lot of our other sporting heroes to take.

Really? Like what? Even if you just look at the crashes, in F1 the drivers are protected not only by their state of the art protection gear, but also by open space to all sides of the road, giving them a lot of space to slow down in and tyre walls designed to limit impact, if they finaly do crash. Cyclists on the other hand, when in a mountains, cycle centimetres away from the hardest rocks imaginable. While the course f1 drivers drive on is protected everywhere, as they just do laps, in cycling it would be impossible to protect 250 km of road every day. THis may not be such a danger when going on flat open roads or when climbing, but when going 90km/h on a descent, having hurt youself quite badly climbing the mountain in the first place, this is in my opinion far more dangerous than driving an f1 car.

Thats before we even look at the strain they put on their body and the clinic stuff which can kill them. I dont see any other professional sport (even bull fighting ) where risks this bad are taken.
 
Apr 27, 2010
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This leads me to wonder, is too much of a good thing bad for you?? I always think of pro cyclists as being so very healthy, with the healthiest hearts around, but are they actually destroying themselves by performing at such extreme levels for so many years?? This makes me worry about riding my bike too much! Do pro cyclists live shorter lives because they use their hearts too much?? scary stuff!!
 
Jun 1, 2010
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As a doctor training in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, and about to sit exams in physiology, I thought I'd clarify a few things and outline some basics that might be informative to some. I'll break it down into what I think are probable mechanisms. Unfortunately, athletes can be at a disavantage for a number of reasons (which on the face of it doesn't make sense, and proposes an alternate theory for the benefit of sitting on the couch drinking beer).

1. Pump problems. There is a condition called HOCM (hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy), which usually affects older people with chronic hypertension. A left ventricle under sustained increases in afterload will remodel to become bigger and thicker (due to the Law of Laplace). A dilated left ventricle is susceptible to outflow tract obstruction and therefore a sudden cessation of aortic (and coronary) flow. This mechanism has been proposed in the sudden death seen in otherwise healthy individuals.

2. Wiring problems. Athletes have typically low resting heart rates. This can lead to susceptibility for arrythmias as the heart muscle cells (myocytes) spend longer time in diastole (relaxation and passive filling of the atria/ventricles). During a longer diastole, the myocytes have a longer relative refractory period, where they are in a potentially excitable state, and may generate an action potential and propagate an arrythmia. If this happens in ventricular miuscle, then pumping is impaired and outflow is compromised. Other conditions that may lead to susceptability for problems include long QT syndrome.

I get my share of ectopic beats, and they feel wierd (feels like a sinking feeling in your chest then a sudden rush as the ventricle ejects a larger stroke volume). If memory serves me correctly, Stuart O'Grady used to have runs of SVT (not sure why or if he had it fixed).

Other previously suggested mechanisms are also likely. A pulmonary embolus could be considered, and the causes are vairied.

The sudden 'collapse' suggests an abrubt cessation of cerebral flow (and therefore cardiac output), most likely due to obstruction or arrythmia. The traditional 'heart attack', where coronary arteries are occluded by throumbus or embolues seems less likely. The lucky thing, if one can draw a positive from this, was that it was witnessed, and he was treated promptly.

As for the 'induced coma', this is a common treatment modality for out-of-hospital-cardiac-arrest. In our hosptial, we admit patients to ICU for a peroid of controlled hypothermia. We cool them for 12h, then rewarm, wake, and assess neurological function. Cooling is supposed to improve neurological outcome (think of stories of near-drownings in icy rivers).

Whether his circumstances have anything to do with doping is impossible and unreasonable to conclude at this time. I feel for his family, having been the bearer of bad news all too often. I can only imangine the agony of not knowing what will happen. I hope he pulls through ok.
 

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