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Ulissi to undergo electrophysiological study following abnormal cardiac rhythm diagnosis

Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) finished third
Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) (Image credit: Bettini Photo )

Diego Ulissi will undergo an electrophysiological study on January 19 after being diagnosed with an abnormal cardiac rhythm, according to UAE Team Emirates

The 31-year-old Italian is scheduled to visit the Riuniti hospital in Ancona on the central Adriatic coast where electrical mapping of the heart will help determine the need to remove any existing arrhythmias.

"Following the findings of an abnormal rhythm during his routine medical evaluation, Diego Ulissi will undergo an electrophysiological study on January 19. The test will be carried out by Professor Antonio Dello Russo, at the Riuniti hospital in Ancona," read a statement from UAE Team Emirates. 

"The procedure will involve an in-depth analysis of the electrical mapping of the heart with possible removal of arrhythmias. Further updates will be released pending the results of the study."

UAE Team Emirates revealed in December that Ulissi would have to take a break from training and competition after he was diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. 

An irregular heartbeat was detected when Ulissi underwent routine pre-season health checks and a subsequent MRI scan revealed that the Italian was suffering from myocarditis.

The team stated, at that time, that Ulissi would have to take a rest period of “a few months” and that he would be withheld from competition for an indefinite length of time. Ulissi has since avoided physical effort, according to a report in La Gazzetta dello Sport. He has not travelled with UAE with his teammates for a pre-season get-together.

Prior to his diagnosis, Ulissi won two stages at the Giro d’Italia as well as the general classification at the Tour of Luxembourg. He also placed second overall at the Tour Down Under and finished on the podium at both Gran Piemonte and the Giro dell’Emilia. He has also signed a two-year contract extension with UAE Team Emirates through to the end of 2022.

Professor Antonio Dello Russo, at the Riuniti hospital in Ancona, will be conducting Ulissi’s electrophysiological study and analysis, and will then determine whether Ulissi could benefit from further treatment. Dello Russo also operated on Mario Cipollini last year following some episodes of atrial fibrillation.

The electrophysiological study involves inserting multiple small catheters into the iliac femoral vein in the groin that are then fed up to the heart’s ventricles in order to study, and locate, possible arrhythmias. If arrhythmias are located, the surgeon will determine whether an ablation procedure is necessary, which involves using electrical signals to destroy the cells in the heart that are causing the arrhythmias. 

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.