Kim Kirchen released from hospital following cardiac arrest, proud father of twins
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kim Kirchen released from hospital following cardiac arrest, proud father of twins

by Steve Jones at 10:06 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
Former Flèche Wallonne winner heads back to the hospital for a happy occasion

Kim KirchenKim Kirchen's release from the Central Hospital in Luxembourg this week was quickly followed-up by even better news when his wife Caroline gave birth to twins Liam and Mika on Thursday, according to Wort. The Katusha rider suffered a cardiac arrest at the Tour de Suisse on the evening of June 18th, and had remained in the hospital under observation until this week.

The 31 year old was put in a medically induced coma for several days in order to stabilize his condition.  The world of cycling breathed a collective sigh of relief when he emerged from the coma and was able to immediately recognize his family.  No information has been release about his heart condition being related to the health issues that have plagued the rider since the early spring.  Doctors failed to diagnose a problem in the months leading up to his cardiac arrest, and they are thought to be connected.

Interestingly, Kirchen was one of the first visitors to check in on Frank Schleck Wednesday night following the Saxo Bank leader's collarbone surgery, in what could very well signal a now united Luxembourg when it comes to things cycling.  Schleck broke his collarbone in three places during stage three of the Tour de France.  He is also a recent father and was hit hard by the tragic news about his long-time arch rival and compatriot just three weeks ago.

Recap of events leading to hospitalization

Kirchen suffered from heart problems just before midnight in Switzerland on Friday evening June 18th.  He was in his room with teammate Joaquim Rodriguez when he complained that he wasn't feeling well and collapsed.  Rodriguez immediately got help from the team doctor Andrei Mikhailov and Marc Joseph, a family friend and retired firefighter, and they began to perform CPR.

The details of the exact heart condition were sketchy at first, but now it appears that he suffered from a cardiac arrest rather than a heart attack.  He was rushed to the University Hospital of Zurich and arrived there just after midnight.

Doctors put Kirchen in a medically induced coma and lowered his body temperature to stabilize his medical condition, and improve his chances of recovery from the trauma.

On Tuesday June 22nd he emerged from his coma and immediately recognized his family, but didn't remember what had happened to him.

On Friday June 25th Kirchen was released from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the University Hospital of Zurich and transferred home to a hospital in Luxembourg.

Medical problems in the early season

Just before the E3 Prijs Kirchen had trouble with an infected saddle sore.  He went on a heavy dose of antibiotics, and ended up in the hospital after having a bad reaction to the medication.  Doctors couldn't find any problems with Kirchen and sent him home.

He was preparing to get back to racing in the Brabantse Pijl, but two days before the race he was found unconscious while out training and taken to the hospital by ambulance.  Again, doctors were unable to diagnose the problem.

During Flèche Wallonne he began experiencing problems on the first climb up the Mur de Huy.   People close to Kirchen told the De Standaard that "his vision went black, and he suddenly didn't know where he was".

Cycling in Luxembourg - the great divide

For years there has been competitive division in Luxembourg when it comes to cycling.  You either root for the Kirchens or you root for the Schlecks.  The intense rivalry began decades ago with former professionals Johnny Schleck, the father of Saxo Bank's Andy and Fränk, and Jeng Kirchen, the brother of Kirchen's grandfather.

The dedication of Fränk Schleck's Tour de Suisse win to Kirchen on Sunday underscores that their rivalry is one that is left on the road, and the Luxembourger will have both sides of the sport urging a speedy recovery on.  A recent father, the situation is likely very personal for the older Schleck brother.


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