Enknvally Jayasimha lived for four decades before discovering he had a rare congenital heart defect that kills nearly all babies who don’t have corrective surgery.
Called anomalous left coronary artery origin from the pulmonary artery (ALCAPA), the condition is somewhat self-explanatory—the left coronary artery stems from the pulmonary artery rather than the aorta. This can cause less blood to reach the heart and for that blood to be deoxygenated.
Despite the left side of his heart being perpetually starved for oxygen, Jayasimha had no knowledge of his condition until a coughing fit left him breathless in December 2014. He received grim news upon his arrival to the hospital.
“I was told I would not make it if I did not immediately get advanced care. Multiple doctors I saw in one night had given up on me,” Jayasimha, now 43, told The Hindu.
But Jayasimha survived—and doctors discovered the ALCAPA after they were unable to access the left coronary system via angiography. One called the case a “once-a-lifetime” occurrence for a cardiologist.
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