This young university swimmer was born with six heart defects!

The day he was born, doctors thought he wouldn’t make it through the night. Now 22, Zayne McCall is a distinguished member of his university’s swim team. L’American Heart Association recently devoted an article to it (source 1).

Many health problems

As soon as he was born, doctors diagnosed him with abnormal pulmonary venous return, a rare defect that causes oxygen-rich blood to return to the right side of the heart instead of the left side. But the infant also presented “a complete anomaly of the atrioventricular canal (a hole in the center of his heart), and a pulmonary atresia (the valve that controlled blood flow from the heart to the lungs was not forming)”, indicates the association. Twenty-four hours after birth, the infant therefore underwent his first open-heart operation. And the complications continued.

Some time later, the doctors end up diagnosing a heterotaxy syndrome In other words, an anomaly in the positioning of organs in the thorax and abdomen during fetal development. “Zayne’s intestines were tied into a ball at birth. He was also born without a spleen and a gallbladder,” says theAmerican Heart Association. He will therefore undergo two more open-heart surgeries. A total of three open heart surgeries between 24 hours and 18 months.

As a teenager, bad news followed: the young man suffered from primary ciliary dyskinesia, an inherited condition that causes lung, eye, or sinus infections. He also has to deal with a hypothyroidism. In high school, the doctors discover him a benign brain tumor. IThey also implanted a pacemaker in her because her heart rate does not increase as it should during exercise.

Swimming, a form of life-saving therapy

“Unlike other sports, swimming allowed me to catch up with children my age. Swimming was one of the few places where I felt like the conditions and difficulties I had didn’t really matter.”

Resolutely optimistic, he wants to move forward and live from his passions. “What worries me is the weather. What is my life expectancy? It’s a huge question mark. I ask myself: ‘What can I do today? What can I do now to get where I want to be? It’s about taking the next step forward.”

His mother, Debbie McCall wanted to send a message of hope to all parents of children who are victims of malformations: “Never give up. […] Sometimes it takes a little time to see the beauty of the situation you find yourself in.“.

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