Wednesday, June 13, 2012

dale oen died of heart disease



dale oen died of heart disease, Norwegian swimmer Alexander Dale Oen, who collapsed and died in Arizona in late April, died of hereditary heart disease, an Arizona medical examiner said on Tuesday.

Dale Oen, the world 100 meters breaststroke champion, collapsed at a training camp in Flagstaff in northern Arizona on April 30 and was later pronounced dead. He was 26.

A first autopsy in early May into the swimmer's death proved inconclusive. The results of a second set of tests released Tuesday by the Coconino County Public Health Services District found he died of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease.

"Based on the autopsy findings and the investigative history that is available to me, it is my opinion that Alexander Dale-Oen died of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease," Coconino County medical examiner Lawrence Czarnecki wrote in a report.

The second tests revealed "severe atherosclerotic disease of the coronary arteries" supplying blood to the heart, and found that the left descending artery was "occluded" by "atherosclerotic plaque."

"The decedent's only known risk factor for heart disease was familial," Czarnecki found, noting that one of Dale Oen's grandfathers died suddenly of heart disease at age 42.

"Given the decedent's young age and significant atherosclerotic disease, a follow-up and evaluation of family members is recommended," he added.

Dale Oen was found lying partially in a bath tub at the training facility after a day of light training and a game of golf. His teammates broke into the bathroom after noticing he had spent a long time inside.

A team doctor and paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

He became a national hero in Norway last year when he won the 100 meters breaststroke at the world championships in Shanghai.

Dale Oen was one of his country's best hopes for a medal at this year's Summer Olympic Games in London.The Coconino County medical examiner's office said 26-year-old Dale Oen suffered from atherosclerotic coronary artery disease, which means Dale Oen would have had arterial blockages.

Kimbal Babcock, clinical services manager for the Coconino County Public Health Services District, said blockages prevent the heart from receiving blood.

Babcock said factors such as being elderly, having diabetes or living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to the condition. In Dale Oen's case, the medical examiner recommended that the swimmer's family look into whether there is a family history of heart disease, Babcock said.

Dale Oen was conducting pre-Olympic training April 30 in Flagstaff, Ariz., when he went into cardiac arrest. Teammates found him collapsed on his bathroom floor at a hotel. He was pronounced dead shortly afterward at Flagstaff Medical Center.

The swimmer became a national hero after winning the 100-meter breaststroke at last year's world championships in Shanghai, just three days after 77 people were killed in a massacre in Norway by self-confessed killer Anders Behring Breivik.

Dale Oen dedicated that victory — the first world title for a Norwegian swimmer — to the victims of the tragedy, pointing to the Norwegian flag on his cap after the finish to send a message to his country. At the medals ceremony, he cried on the podium as the Norwegian national anthem was played.

Dale Oen was considered one of Norway's biggest medal hopes at the London Olympics. He earned a silver medal in the 100 breaststroke at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.But doctors involved in the screening, conducted by Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) say there have been no instances where any of the elite athletes screened have had to give up their sport.
The screening has been under way with all national governing bodies of elite sports in the UK, including the Rugby Football Union and the FA, as well as Olympic sports, for the past five years.
The UK appears ahead of some other countries, with the Australian Olympic Committee this week ordering cardiac screening of its London Olympic team.
This follows a spate of high profile deaths in apparent young athletes, including the Norwegian 100m breaststroke world champion Alexander Dale Oen and Italian footballer Piermario Morosini.
Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba survived a cardiac arrest after prompt intervention from a heart specialist spectator on the field of play earlier this year.

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