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Shutdown Corner

New tests show that Star Lotulelei’s heart is in normal range, with no evidence of dysfunction

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Star Lotulelei gets busy against UCLA. (Getty Images)

After a dominant Mar. 20 performance at Utah's pro day, defensive lineman Star Lotulelei was able to confirm that his abnormal heart readings during medical tests at the scouting combine in February may have been an anomaly. And on Monday, Lya Wodraska of the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Lotulelei's further heart tests showed "no evidence of dysfunction," and his heart performed "consistently with that of highly trained athletes."

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Tests performed during the combine indicated that Lotulelei's left ventricle was pumping at 44 percent efficiency compared with the normal range of 55 to 70 percent. A repeat of the echocardiogram shortly after the combine indicated that Lotulelei's heart was returning to normal range, and according to the Salt Lake Tribune report, a recent MRI showed that his heart was indeed in normal range with no long-term effects. Reports indicated that Lotulelei lost 10 pounds in a three-day period as he prepared for the combine, and dehydration can be a factor in such negative echocardiogram readings.

Lotulelei will attend and participate in the "combine re-check," a test in Indianapolis that re-assesses medical tests given at the February combine.

"There was no evidence of a dysfunction so we think it was transient in nature," Utah team physician Dave Petron told the Tribune of the more recent tests. "There was no reason why he couldn’t continue on in an athletic career."

Lotulelei did not work out at the combine after the low ventricular efficiency was detected, but he was more than impressive at his pro day. After he was cleared to work out by cardiologist Josef Stehlik , Lotulelei put up 38 reps on the 225-pound bench press, had a 30-inch vertical leap, ran the three-cone drill in 7.76 seconds, and the short shuttle in 4.65 seconds. Though his agent, Bruce Tollner, would have preferred that Lotulelei not run 40-yard dashes, he did, and ran 5.31 and 5.36 in two instances.

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Lotulelei, who was thought to be a sure top-5 pick before the combine medical report, finished the 2012 season with 42 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, four pass breakups, three forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries.

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