Volta a Catalunya: Sonny Colbrelli to undergo surgery to implant an automated defibrillator Listen to this article

Sonny Colbrelli wants to come home. After three days at the University Hospital of Girona, where he has undergone several cardiorespiratory tests that have not clarified the origin of his arrhythmia, the 31-year-old Italian cyclist will fly to Padua over the next few hours to be treated by the team. According to Dr. Domenico Corrado, according to what has been advanced La Gazzetta dello Sport, Corrado is a major of arrhythmic cardiomyopathy, a ventricular defect that already claimed the life of Fiorentina captain David Astori in 2018. Colbrelli, who stopped after crossing the finish line in the first leg of the Volta Catalunya, had a bronchitis problem that prevented him from starting at Milan-San Remo a week earlier.

Ramone Brugada, the head of cardiology at Girona Hospital, has been caring for the Italian as he was admitted last Monday. Colbrelli is excited and in a good mood. Lying in bed, he shares all the signs of affection he finds on social networks. You are lucky to be able to tell. “In Padua, Sony will have to take important decisions. He has to choose which defibrillator to implant, and then, along with his family, doctor, and team, he has to think about what to do with cycling”, says Brugada.

The reason is simple. Had it not been for the help of a doctor and above all, a defibrillator at the time of his arrhythmia, the Italian could have died on the spot. Confirmed this week news paper of catalonia Alex Flor, the Volta doctor who saved the Italian’s life with a defibrillator at the Sant Feliu de Guixol finish line.

Flor assured that, under the stress of the moment, Colbrelli responded positively to the device’s first discharge: “Luckily, we acted very quickly”. According to experts, in ventricular arrest, the time of action is 10 minutes. Each minute of delay reduces the chance of survival of the affected person by 10%.

The automated defibrillator that Colbrelli may have implanted, also called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), is a small battery-operated device that is placed on the chest to monitor heart rhythms and detect irregular heartbeats. In case of detecting an anomaly, the instrument can automatically reverse it by means of electrical discharge.

This is the same device that was implanted in Christian Eriksson, a Danish football player who at the age of 29 suffered a cardiac arrest similar to that of Colbrelli during a match at the previous European Championships. Eight months after his fall, Ericsson returned to play for Brentford. Danish is back on a call with his selection this week, 10 months after the incident.

Still, it is yet to be known whether Colbrelli will be able to follow in Ericsson’s footsteps. Luis Serratosa, a sports doctor at the Quiron clinic, warned that having an automatic defibrillator installed in the Italian does not guarantee he will compete again: “It will not be easy.” In fact, in the central registry of athletes competing with defibrillators, no cyclists appear.

For Brugada, the main thing is no longer to go back on the road: “I am not interested in the team, money, profession or sports activity. I only think about health. Colbrelli was very lucky and was saved, but he is 31 years old and has a long life ahead of him with his loved ones.” The professor assured that tough decisions await Colbrelli in the coming days, but is confident that “he is in very good hands.”

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