MEDICAL: CONDITIONS: HEART : SPORTS: ATHLETES: Teen Athletes, Tell Your Doctor about Family Heart Issues. It Could Save Your Life

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MEDICAL: CONDITIONS: HEART : SPORTS: ATHLETES: Teen Athletes, Tell Your Doctor about Family Heart Issues. It Could Save Your Life

David P. Dillard
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MEDICAL: CONDITIONS: HEART :

SPORTS: ATHLETES:

Teen Athletes, Tell Your Doctor about Family Heart Issues.
It Could Save Your Life


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Teen Athletes, Tell Your Doctor about Family Heart Issues.
It Could Save Your Life

BY KATHRYN W. FOSTER

Health and Fitness

Miami Herald

http://www.miamiherald.com/living/health-fitness/article163086443.html


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Rowing was his life. Every day after school at 4 p.m., Gianluca Iacono
headed to Key Biscayne for practice.

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Running a 5K would be a warm-up, Iacono said. Not every day was a rowing
day. This was one of those days. We were doing workouts called Croakers
10 repetitions of sets of pull-ups, sit-ups, weight lifting.  We were
training to be the best of the best, Iacono said of his Gulliver Prep
team.

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On this day in particular my coach was jotting down peoples heart rates.
Mine came back very high, well over 200 [beats per minute]. He kind of
looked at me in a strange way, Iacono recalled.

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Dr. Madeleen Mas, a pediatric cardiologist with Miami Cardiac and Vascular
Institute at Baptist Hospital, diagnosed Iacono with an anomalous coronary
artery in which the left artery comes from the wrong side of the heart.

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Iacono remembers hearing, Do the surgery and everything will be fine. Dont
and you dont have much time. This is what you see athletes drop dead of.

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It was a lot to take as a 15-year-old, Iacono said. Only old people or
babies get open-heart surgery, not someone your age. It destroyed my
athletic career.

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Said Mas, When it comes from the wrong side, it passes in between the two
main coronary arteries (aorta and pulmonary artery), and during very
vigorous exercise, it can get squeezed. Its the second leading cause of
sudden death in an otherwise healthy young athlete.

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The leading cause of sudden death in young athletes is hypertrophic
cardiomyopathy, or HCM. Its a genetic disorder where the heart muscle
thickens and that thickened muscle can obstruct the blood flow, Mas
explained.

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While most chest pain in children is not heart related, chest pain while
exercising is a real red flag, Mas said. She also recommends that children
who have chest discomfort with palpitations for more than 5 minutes, or
chest pain with fainting or feeling faint should see a doctor. Other
causes of chest pain can be muscular or related to indigestion, stress or
caffeine.

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Another important cause of serious chest pain or even sudden death in
young teenagers is myocarditis, a viral infection that attacks the heart,
Mas said. Thats one reason to avoid vigorous activities when a child has a
fever.

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Its the surge of adrenaline that can make the heart more irritable. If its
irritable and sick from the virus, thats when you can get an arrhythmia
that can cause a sudden death, Mas said.

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snip

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Life has certainly turned around for young Iacono. After the surgery, he
needed help toting his school backpack. Even breathing was painful.

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He recovered, graduated from Gulliver and replaced rowing with yoga. He
also free dives and runs. After 2 years of college, he has an opportunity
to work for an oil company in Bogot Colombia.

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Its just been a blessing, Iacono says of his new life. Yes, there is a
lovely scar. I wear that as a badge of honor.


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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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