A teenager from Texas lived with an undetected heart defect for 14 years until doctors discovered that he had a & very slow heart attack & # 39; had.
John Thoms, a freshman freshman from San Angelo, had done a standard physical examination with his pediatrician in August 2019.
His doctor heard a very strange noise and decided to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) that came back with abnormal results.
Thoms was sent to another hospital, where cardiologists revealed that he had abnormal left coronary artery of the pulmonary artery, known as ALCAPA.
The condition is a birth defect where the arteries of the heart are not properly wired. It kills most babies & # 39; s before their first birthdays if they are not detected and Thoms would need open heart surgery to correct it.
Doctors told John's mother that because his body struggled to adjust to the defect as he grew, it was as if he had a & # 39; very slow heart attack every day & # 39; had.
John Thoms, 14 (photo), from San Angelo, Texas, took a routine physical exam on August 21
His pediatrician heard something strange when she listened to his heart. She ordered an ECG, which indicated that Thoms had had a heart attack. Pictured, left and right: Thoms in the hospital after the heart surgery
Thoms went to his pediatrician, Dr. Jennigale Webb, at Shannon Medical Center received the physical on August 21.
& # 39; She just listened with a stethoscope and said, "Something doesn't sound right," said Thoms & # 39; mother, Theresa Mueting, at DailyMail.com.
& # 39; And John said, "When I was born, they said I had a slight heart noise," and she said, "No, this is different."
Dr. Webb ordered an ECG, which showed that Thoms had had a heart attack at some point.
He was referred to San Antonio Children's & Methodist Hospital – 209 miles away – which had more resources to investigate Thoms.
Dr. David Bush, a pediatric cardiologist in San Antonio, ordered another ECG and an echocardiogram.
It was there that the 14-year-old heard that he had ALCAPA, a rare heart defect where the arteries of the heart were wired incorrectly.
Usually the left and right coronary arteries branch from the aorta. But in people with ALCAPA, the left coronary artery branches out from the pulmonary artery.
There are two main problems, the first is that not enough blood reaches the heart because part of the blood that the left coronary artery sends to the heart flows back into the pulmonary artery.
The second is that the blood that the heart receives does not have as much oxygen as it should, because the left coronary artery is sending oxygen-poor blood.
The condition is usually diagnosed at birth and most babies die at the age of one if it is not detected, according to Boston Children & # 39; s Hospital.
& # 39; I think I was really stunned, I think I was really in shock, & # 39; said Mueting.
& # 39; All the while (doctors) they kept saying that this was something they had never seen before. Dr. Bush said: "I have never heard of someone so old with ALCAPA ". & # 39;
Thoms was sent to another hospital, where the abnormal left coronary artery of the pulmonary artery was diagnosed. ALCAPA is a rare heart defect where the heart runs out of blood and oxygen and kills most babies before their first birthday. Pictured, left and right: Thoms in the hospital during open heart surgery
Doctors decided that Thoms (photo) should undergo open heart surgery to correct the birth defect
Dr. Bush also told Mueting that the ECG heart attack was very different from that of the adults.
& # 39; w"If you're small, your body can work (the condition), but as you get older, the heart can't keep up," she said.
& # 39; So it was as if he had a very, very slow heart attack every day for a long time. & # 39;
It was ultimately determined that Thoms immediately needed open heart surgery to resolve the problem.
So on September 4, just two weeks after his physical intervention, Thoms underwent the procedure at Children's Methodist.
& # 39; He is my firstborn; I protect him very much, & said Mueting, who has two younger sons.
Thoms (photo, October 2019) underwent the four to six o'clock operation on September 4 at the San Antonio Children's Methodist Hospital
& # 39; I have worked in cardiology in Washington State for a while. I didn't know much about it, but I knew what an open heart meant. But I don't think (John) has fully understood.
& # 39; I kept him off the internet, kept him away from people talking about it, because I didn't want him to be scared. & # 39;
During the procedure, doctors discovered why Thomas had not died of his condition.
Very small arteries were branched from the left coronary artery and connected to his heart to provide him with enough blood and oxygen.
Surgeons disconnected the left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery and affixed it to the right one.
Thoms had surgery between four and six hours before he was recovered. After about a week he was fired.
Thinking now, Mueting said there might have been signs that something was wrong with her son, but nothing too abnormal.
When Thoms was a year old, he was living in Seattle, Washington at the time, and Mueting went to check him in the middle of the night.
& # 39; Something didn't feel right, and when I peeked through the door to look at him, his coloring was finished, like a grayish blue, & # 39; she said.
& # 39; I picked him up and put him in the car and went to the hospital. & # 39;
Doctors eventually diagnosed him with asthma and gave him an inhaler, but he never used it.
When he was in school and was about to run, he complained about chest pain.
& # 39; I thought it might be asthma, maybe some low-grade asthma (because) he never had heart problems. & # 39;
During the operation, doctors discovered that small arteries branched from the left coronary artery and were connected to the heart of Thoms to provide him with enough blood and oxygen. Pictured: Thoms in the hospital for his surgery
Thoms was fired after a week and is now recovering at home. He will be trained home and will continue to do so until at least January. Pictured, left and right: Thoms in the hospital for his surgery
Thomas is currently out of school and, as long as his recovery is going according to plan, he will return in January.
From now on he will receive a home course through a program from the San Angelo Independent School District.
On November 12, he visits Children & Methodist's to undergo a stress test, where he is connected to an ECG, placed on a treadmill, and told to walk and run to see how his heart deals with physical activity.
Thoms will also have to eat a heart-healthy diet – which means lots of fruits and vegetables and not fatty foods. He also needs at least one cardiological examination per year.
Mueting said she hopes that the story of Thom's other parents convinces how important an annual physical life is.
& # 39; You may never find anything, but I have three boys and it's hard to get everything done and we could have been very easy, we'll just move it, & # 39; she said.
& # 39; Your physical body for your children is super important. & # 39;
The family started a Facebook page to cover the medical costs of Thoms. Starting Wednesday afternoon, more than $ 11,300 has been raised with a target of $ 25,000.
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