Open heart surgery at age 26 after weeks of flu-like symptoms

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 (USA) heart Association News)

On the first refreshing day of autumn, Melanie Falcon went for a run in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

She felt more tired than usual and went home.For the next few days, Falcon – a television newscaster and reporter who was 26 at the time – endured. heat, cold, headache When Malaise..

She thought it was bad cold or influenza.. After a few days of symptoms, she went to the doctor.They have it cold or influenza, And tested her Lyme disease, Returned to minus. After a few more weeks of symptoms, she went to an infectious disease specialist. No additional tests gave an answer.

Meanwhile, Falcon continued to feel miserable. It was in 2012, when she was reporting on Hurricane Sandy 24 hours a day, “alternately set phone alarms. Adville When Tylenol my heat When cold It was very bad. “

By late November, Falcon was so weak and tired that she was admitted to the hospital. Again, they found only the possibility of a virus and she was sent home. A few days later she felt sick and returned to the hospital.

This time, Echocardiography Revealed what the Falcons had in common Congenital heart disease Called premolars Aortic valve.. Instead of having three leaflets, I fused two leaflets to prevent the valve from closing properly. In addition, her valve was infected, damaging the valve and surrounding tissues.

Falcon is “Open-heart I tried to prepare for the “Surgery Handbook” and the surgery scheduled within 12 hours.

“At that point, I wasn’t even scared,” she said. “I was so ill and terrible that I thought I couldn’t live without the surgery.”

Falcon also had to determine the type of replacement valve she wanted: mechanical or for cattle.

She chose the cow valve. That’s because you may have a baby later, even if you eventually need another valve replacement.

The next morning, the doctor removed the infected tissue from her heart and patched the area around her roots. Aorta I replaced the sick valve.

After rehabilitation of the heart, the Falcon running It was very comfortable. She shared her story on a local news program and raised awareness as she navigated the new world. Congenital heart disease..

She also married Brian O’Reilly. And three years after the surgery, she had an eldest son.

Three years later she became Pregnant With another son. At that time, she also had signs that her heart valves were worn out. She was closely monitored and successfully gave birth to her son Charlie in November 2018.

Shortly thereafter, it was time to think about the next strategy. This time she and O’Reilly had time to prepare.When they consulted a doctor and underwent a preliminary examination, they remembered something that was discovered during her first surgery: she had another Congenital heart disease..

Simply put, the Falcon’s coronary arteries did not go where they should be. It is called an abnormal coronary artery. It did not cause any problems, but it increased her risk of future heart events.

“We continued to focus on taking care of our business and the feeling that we needed to be okay for our sons,” O’Reilly said. It was me who had been crazy all the time. “

Falcon underwent a second open heart surgery in November 2019. This time there were two surgeons. One performs valve replacement and the other is a specialist. Congenital heart disease Repairs abnormal coronary arteries.


In the United States, one-quarter of deaths are caused by heart disease.
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Falcon returned to running Recovery 10 weeks after surgery, her doctor acknowledged her preoperative achievements Fitness level.

Bicuspid aortic valves are often hereditary. Since Falcon’s diagnosis, screening has detected the condition of his father and his three-year-old son Charlie. For now, you just need to monitor. The Falcon will eventually require a third valve replacement, but we expect it to be a less invasive procedure.

Today, Falcon shares her story at an American Heart Association event, Congenital heart disease..She conveys the knowledge she wanted to have when she was trying to understand her Flu-like symptoms..

“I didn’t know anything about congenital heart disease,” she said. “I knew it heart attack, But that was almost it. “

Falcon said her experience shows how important it is to defend herself when something seems wrong, including returning to the hospital after returning home.

“My first surgeon said that if I had surgery and hadn’t had it, it would probably take hours to live,” she said. “It’s scary to look back. Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor. You have a good knowledge base about how your body usually feels and something is wrong. If you think you should defend yourself. “

Even before Falcon had his first surgery, O’Reilly wasn’t a stranger to it. When he was in junior high school, his father underwent two bypass surgeries. However, this experience opened his eyes to a completely different community of heart disease patients born in their condition.

“Understand it Heart disease It made me realize how important advocacy is, and how important it is to go to the doctor and understand your body and how it works, “he said.Heart disease It’s not just the old man holding his chest. It can be everyone. “

American Heart Association News Covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyrighted by American Heart Association, Inc. Owned or owned by, and all rights reserved.If you have any questions or comments about this story, please email us [email protected]..

Sae Yamamoto Malta

American Heart Association News

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