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Teleradiology PIN of the Week: Overcoming Heart Condition to Win Olympic Gold



Our Teleradiology PIN of the Week is the inspiring story of one Olympic swimmer, Dana Vollmer who is pictured above celebrating after setting a world record in the 100-meter butterfly on Sunday on her way to winning an Olympic gold medal. 

Dana Vollmer's story is particularly inspiring because of what she has risked in order to train and compete. At the age of 15 she was diagnosed with genetic cardiac electrical disorder called long QT syndrome, a diagnosis that could lead at any moment to sudden cardiac arrest. Vollmer chose to continue competing, always with a portable defibrillator nearby in case she suffered a cardiac event. Today she appears to have outgrown the disorder as doctors can no longer detect any signs of it. Vollmer's story illustrates that some athletes can still participate in competitive sports despite cardiac defects. 

Facts about Long QT Syndrome courtesy of Doug Mills/The New York Times:

  •  American Academy of Pediatrics:  reports that each year about 2,000 people under the age of 25 die of sudden cardiac arrest in the USs, most because of long QT syndrome and other electrical and structural defects in the heart. While sudden cardiac arrest can strike those who are sedentary, the risk is up to three times as great in competitive athletes.
  •  A recent study by the Mayo Clinic : looked at 130 athletes who continued competing despite a diagnosis of long QT syndrome and found that only one had a cardiac event triggered by the condition while playing. The athlete received a shock from an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator on two separate occasions.

Excalibur celebrates our Olympic athletes! Our board-certified radiologists and cardiologists are available 24/7/365 for your medical imaging needs whether for emergency teleradiology services, nighthawk, or day coverage.


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