Cardiac holter and training: the experience of two Olympic athletes

13 December 2021

The cardiac holter is a fundamental exam for those who have to detect arrhythmias or other cardiovascular diseases, but it is also useful for those who, often straining their heart muscle, are interested in monitoring it and collecting data on its activity.
This is the case of professional athletes. We will discuss it with the multi-medal winners Linda Oliveri and Tobia Bocchi.
Olivieri, hurdler and specialist in 400m hurdles, and Bocchi, whose specialty is the triple jump, used the cardiac holter for the first time during a training session in summer 2021, just before flying to Tokyo to attend the Olympics.
Indeed, the advantage of the portable battery-powered electrocardiograph is that it can be applied to the chest and kept in the correct position for one or more days thanks to its light and small size. It allows the patient to record the electrical activity of the heart continuously even during sports.
Linda Oliveri, practising an aerobic discipline that requires also endurance work, states that she can take particular advantage of the information detected by the device: “Using the holter during a workout and in the following 24 hours can be useful for picking up data about the heart activity before, during and after the exertion.
Using the cardiac holter during three workouts carried out for example in the morning, at lunchtime and in the afternoon, could reveal if the heart with the same amount of work struggles less at a certain time of the day.
If we repeat this test over the long term, we will have the possibility of drawing conclusions and eventually revising the training”.
In this way, the cardiac holter becomes not only an additional check on the health of the athletes to their regular medical appointments (1), but also it is above all a source of interesting information for the athletes themselves and for those who carry out research in the medical-sports field.
This is confirmed by Tobia Bocchi, who in addition to the cardiac holter uses the Sleep Monitor, designed to check the quality of sleep and detect any respiratory disorders (2): “I used it in the days before my departure to Tokyo and during my stay until the day of the Olympic competition to check how the body adapts itself to the jet lag between Italy and Japan.
Beyond the heart rate trend, especially in aerobic disciplines, it is interesting to check this aspect too, because the sleep pattern in athletes differs from the sleep pattern in non-athletic or sporty people”.

Article written by Chiara Beretta

[1] Noninvasive Cardiac Screening in Young Athletes with Ventricular Arrhythmias, University of Padua (Italy), The American Journal of Cardiology, volume 111, Issue 4, 15 February 2013.
[1] Sleep and Athletic Performance, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, (Madison, WI), Current Sports Medicine Reports, 11/12 2017 – Volume 16 – Issue 6


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