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Mario Lemieux has another heart scare
Mario Lemieux has been sidelined indefinitely after his irregular heartbeat problem returned during a game last week against the Buffalo Sabres. Earlier this month on December 7th, the 40 year old Lemieux was hospitalizedand diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that causes his pulse to dramatically increase at times. Lemieux has also ruled himself out of the Canadian national hockey team for the upcoming 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.
Atrial fibrillation is a condition where the heart's two small upper chambers (the atria) flutter instead of beating effectively. This means that blood is not completely pumped out of them and can lead to clotting. About 2.2 million Americans suffer from this condition and it has been linked to strokes. Doctors have advised Mario to refrain from playing hockey, including practicing for atleast two weeks while they adjust his medication. Pittsburgh general manager Craig Patrick acknoledged that the legendary center may have returned prematurely, but that they would not take full precautions. "That's the one thing we've got to be careful of -- him feeling the pressure, putting it on himself to get back on the ice. We've got to calm him down from here on out, we've got to make sure it's right. We've got to not listen to him this time and say, `No, Mario, not until we say you're ready," said Patrick.