A heart story in the winter Olympics 2010

February 24, 2010 by  

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For athletes, the ultimate dream is to compete in the Olympics. These people have to give up a lot and suffer through injuries in order to have a chance for glory.

Just a year ago, the Crawford sisters never thought they will make it to the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010.

26-year old Chandra Crawford was an Olympic gold medallist. She won a gold medal in cross-country skiing 4 years ago in the Olympic games in the Turin 2006 games. However, she had ankle problems last year that almost cost her her spot in the Canadian Olympic team.

However, it was Chandra’s younger sister who had more problems. 21-year old Rosanna who is a biathlete, was diagnosed with atrial tachycardia, a heart condition that causes the heart to beat too fast. In Rosanna’s case, her heart would sometimes race more than twice faster than normal. “I had no energy. I couldn’t ski fast. All my limbs hurt,” said Rosanna.

Thus last year, Rosanna had to undergo an intervention to repair heart condition.

“They go into a vein in your thigh, up to your heart, and they find where you have bad nerves. I had a nerve that would just go in little loop and make my heart race. They had to cauterize the nerve, so they just burned it.”

However, Rosanna didn’t give up on her dream of competing next to her big sister in the next Olympics. Six weeks after her heart intervention, she started training and then competing in biathlon in order to secure a place in the Canadian team. During the final qualifying race, her big sister Chandra was there to cheer her on, running alongside the race course and shouting words of encouragement to her little sister.

“She helped me ski as fast as I could. She was yelling and cheering. She kept telling me to put my head down, grit and my teeth and move as fast as I could.”

The sisters are now together as part of the Canadian Olympics team in Whistler.

This is definitely an Olympic heart story, an inspiring story about determination to overcome odds and sisterly love.

About atrial tachycardia

According to Medline Plus encyclopedia

The human heart gives off electrical impulses, or signals, which tell it to beat. Normally, these signals begin in an area of the upper right chamber called the sinoatrial node (sinus node or SA node). This node is considered the heart’s “natural pacemaker.” It helps control the heartbeat. When the heart detects a signal, it contracts (or beats). The normal heart rate in adults is about 60 to 100 beats per minute. The normal heart rate is faster in children.

In multifocal atrial tachycardia (MAT), multiple locations within the heart fire signals at the same time. Too many signals lead to a rapid heart rate — anywhere from 100 to 250 beats per minute. The rapid heart rate causes the heart to work too hard. If the heartbeat is very fast, the heart has less time to fill up with blood, so it doesn’t have the right amount of blood to pump to the brain and the rest of the body.

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