Suns News

O'Neal Diagonosed With Irregular Heartbeat

O'Neal is a six-time NBA All-Star.
(NBAE/Getty Images)
Posted: January 28, 2013

Having already lost big man Channing Frye to heart issues this season, the Suns are now down another.

Jermaine O’Neal didn’t suit up for two games last Wednesday and Thursday because he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. After feeling shortness of breath and tightness in the chest out of nowhere last Monday night, the Suns center woke up at around 4 a.m. feeling like he was “having a heart attack.”

First thing Tuesday morning, O’Neal saw Suns head trainer Aaron Nelson, who promptly sent him to the cardiologist. O’Neal, who said that he already possessed a heart murmur, said that his heart would sputter for five or six seconds before beating regularly again.

After running two days of tests, O’Neal was given a specific medication to combat the issue.

"We ran two days of tests and feel like we know what's causing the issue," O'Neal said last Thursday. "They put me on medication to put it back on rhythm, which should take three to four days."

The six-time All-Star said that until he knows exactly what he's up against, he'll remain sidelined, although he traveled with the team this weekend to Texas to support his teammates. He said that he's experienced nausea from the medicine, but the heart palpitations have reduced since taking the medication.

Before the palpitations were lasting five or six seconds, which was creating a disturbance in his breathing pattern. However, O’Neal said that the medication was stabilizing his heartbeat.

“I’m not going to play until it’s corrected,” he said. “It’s not like an ankle, knee or shoulder. It’s the thing that keeps you alive.”

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