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Numminen to have minor surgery

by Staff Writer / Dallas Stars

April 20, 2004

By J. Douglas Foster

Defenseman Teppo Numminen said he wants to play hockey again next season.

But first, he'll have to go through what he called "minor surgery" to address his irregular heartbeat. Numminen said he will see the doctor on Wednesday (April 21), and that the procedure could be done shortly afterward.

Numminen, who was diagnosed with a dilated aorta late this season which forced him to miss five games, said this was a completely unrelated issue, and that the irregular heartbeat has been present sine his childhood days.

"The only way I could play in the playoffs was to take a pill to keep my pulse down," Numminen said. "That was terrible."

Numminen said the pill he took to keep his pulse from racing bothered him so much that he didn't take it in Game Three against Colorado, an overtime game, and that he had to stay on the bench for some time because the rapid heartbeat came back.

"I just tried to play without it because the pill made me feel so bad," he said. "It just made me fuzzy all the time, and I felt dizzy."

Fortunately, Numminen said, the surgery is more minor than it sounds when explaining the procedure. Apparently, one of Numminen's heart stimulators is out of sequence, which causes the heart rate to go high. To counter this, doctors will cauterize (burn) the stimulator that is out of sequence.

"Just a minor thing," he said. "I almost passed out when they told me."

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