Cycling

Merckx fitted with pacemaker

2013-03-22 13:40
Eddy Merckx (File)

Brussels - Cycling legend Eddy Merckx has been fitted with a cardiac pacemaker to correct a heart rhythm problem, he was quoted as saying in a newspaper interview on Friday.

The 67-year-old told the Belgian daily Het Nieuwsblad that the operation was performed at a clinic in the northern city of Genk on Thursday and was done as a precautionary measure.

"I was operated on by doctor Johan Van Lierde, a friend of mine," said Merckx, a five-time winner of cycling's greatest race, the Tour de France.

"My heart rate has been under 40 (beats per minute) since birth or thereabouts.

"As a result it was wise to take preventative measures to avoid certain problems, particularly at night."

The pacemaker is designed to give an electric charge allowing the heart to beat at a more regular frequency.

"I'm now happy about all this," added Merckx, who was due to leave hospital on Friday and could be given the all-clear to get back on his bike in about two weeks' time.

A biography of the cyclist, published in March last year, said that he had a heart problem from the start of his career and should never have even competed professionally.

"Eddy Merckx, The Cannibal", by Daniel Friebe, quoted Italian cardiologist Giancarlo Lavezzaro, who examined the cyclist during the 1968 Tour of Italy, as saying that he "rode his entire career with a sword of Damacles over his head".

Lavezzero concluded that Merckx had a non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - a genetic condition in which the heart muscle thickens, affecting its functioning.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations, lightheadedness, fatigue and fainting. The condition is the leading cause of sudden death in young athletes.

Merckx, who was not told the doctor's conclusions, said later that he always knew he had an "odd heart" that was "particularly big", adding that his father and uncles all died young of heart problems.

Read more on:    cycling
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Besides the 'Big 3' of rugby, cricket and soccer, which of the 'smaller' sports in South Africa do you enjoy the most?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.