Patient Testimonial: Sports Cardiology Care for an Elite Cyclist

Elite Cyclist Back in the Saddle After High-Quality Sports Cardiology Care

As an elite cyclist competing at the national level for years, Mike was no stranger to various aches and pains. But when he began experiencing chest pain and heart rates of up to 250 beats per minute during training and competitive events, he became worried.

Mike cyclingMike riding his bicycle after treatment.

Mike saw a cardiologist, who diagnosed atrial fibrillation (AFib). The doctor told Mike that his symptoms and condition were typical for someone who has been an athlete his whole life and that it was fine to continue his active lifestyle.

Despite training several times a week, Mike’s fitness and racing results went downhill – and his symptoms worsened. After having severe chest pain, shortness of breath, muscle cramps and vomiting during exercise, he saw another cardiologist. This doctor told Mike to stop his training and competitive cycling to reduce the strain on his heart.

But Mike was determined to take care of the AFib so he could continue cycling. After having cardiac ablation, Mike went back to his training schedule and racing competitions. But his symptoms persisted. “I couldn't play basketball with my son without shortness of breath and pounding in my chest,” Mike said. “I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs.”

The Memorial difference: A sports cardiologist

On a friend’s recommendation, Mike saw Eli Friedman, MD, at Memorial Healthcare System. As a sports cardiologist, Dr. Friedman has done extensive training and research into cardiovascular conditions and how they can affect athletes differently than less active people.

Dr. Friedman asked Mike to bring in his bicycle for a specialized stress test. By monitoring Mike’s heart rate, blood pressure and other factors, Dr. Friedman could see exactly what was happening when Mike exercised. “What a difference it made to work with a sports cardiologist versus any other cardiologist,” Mike said.

With the results of the stress test, an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) and other advanced heart testing, Dr. Friedman told Mike that he didn’t have AFib. He had high blood pressure and microvascular disease, a condition in which the heart’s tiny arteries are damaged or diseased, reducing blood flow to the heart and causing symptoms.

With medication to lower his blood pressure, Mike has gotten back to cycling once again. “One of my previous cardiologists said I was performing at about 55 to 65% capacity – and I got through national championships at that level,” Mike said. “I can’t imagine what 100% is going to be. I just can’t even imagine.”

Contact Us

To schedule an appointment or learn more about sports medicine at Memorial, call 954-265-8326.