Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, commonly known as Ronaldo, is a retired Brazilian football player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. His career was filled with moments of magic and brilliance, but it was also marred by a heart problem that almost ended his career and his life. The problem started during the 1998 World Cup Final, when Ronaldo suffered an inexplicable fit just hours before the game. The incident raised questions about Ronaldo’s health and his ability to play at the highest level. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what caused Ronaldo’s heart problem.
To understand the nature of Ronaldo’s heart problem, we need to look at his medical history. In 1995, when he was playing for PSV Eindhoven, Ronaldo experienced his first episode of heart palpitations during a training session. He was immediately sent to a hospital for an electrocardiogram (ECG) test, which showed a sinus arrhythmia. This type of arrhythmia is a benign condition that does not cause any harm to the heart and requires no treatment.
However, Ronaldo’s heart problems resurfaced during the 1997/98 season when he was playing for Inter Milan. He experienced recurrent episodes of irregular heartbeats, and his team doctor, Doctor Massimo Moratti, became concerned about his condition. Doctors in Italy ran a series of tests on Ronaldo, including an echocardiogram, an exercise test, and a 24-hour ECG. These tests revealed that Ronaldo had a congenital heart defect called tachycardia, which made his heart beat faster than normal.
Tachycardia is a condition where the heart beats faster than 100 beats per minute at rest. In most cases, it is not life-threatening, and the patient can lead a normal life. However, in rare cases, tachycardia can cause significant symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, and chest pain. It can also lead to a life-threatening arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation, which can cause sudden cardiac arrest.
After discovering Ronaldo’s condition, Inter Milan immediately sent him to Brazil for further evaluation by Dr. Nabil Ghorayeb, a leading Brazilian cardiologist. Dr. Ghorayeb ran a series of tests on Ronaldo, including a cardiac MRI, a stress test, and an echocardiogram. He discovered that Ronaldo had a variant of tachycardia called HOCM (Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy). This condition is a type of heart muscle disease that causes the heart muscle to become thickened and stiff, making it hard for the heart to pump blood efficiently.
HOCM can be a potentially fatal condition, as it increases the risk of sudden cardiac death. To manage Ronaldo’s condition, Dr. Ghorayeb prescribed him medication to control his heart rate and blood pressure. Ronaldo was also advised to avoid strenuous physical activities that could trigger his condition.
Despite Ronaldo’s heart problem, he continued to play football at the highest level. He signed with Real Madrid in 2002 and helped the team win the Champions League in 2002 and 2003. However, his heart problem resurfaced in 2006 when he was playing for AC Milan. He suffered chest pains during a Serie A game against Livorno and had to be substituted.
Ronaldo underwent several tests once again, including an electric impulse test, which revealed that the electrical current in his heart was irregular. The team doctors advised him to undergo surgery to treat his condition, as it had become too severe to manage with medication alone.
In February 2007, Ronaldo underwent surgery to correct his HOCM. The procedure involved removing part of the thickened heart muscle that was obstructing blood flow and causing irregular heartbeats. The surgery was successful, and Ronaldo returned to football eight months later, playing for Corinthians in Brazil.
In conclusion, Ronaldo’s heart problem was caused by a congenital heart defect called HOCM. The condition led to tachycardia, an abnormally fast heart rate, which could potentially cause sudden cardiac death. With proper diagnosis and management, Ronaldo was able to continue playing football at the highest level, and he underwent successful surgery to correct his condition. Today, Ronaldo lives a healthy and active life, and his story is a testament to the importance of early detection and proper management of heart conditions.