Spring Valley Teen Discovers Rare Heart Condition After Collapse - NBC 7 San Diego
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Spring Valley Teen Discovers Rare Heart Condition After Collapse

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    Teen Discovers Rare Heart Condition After Collapse

    NBC 7's Joe Little met with the high schooler who missed out on his birthday, but walked away with a second, third, and fourth chance at life. (Published Friday, March 15, 2019)

    Mekhi Lewis is living life a little differently Friday than he was less than a month ago, before a sudden collapse brought awareness to an underlying heart condition. 

    The Spring Valley teenager was in gym class at Morse High School when he collapsed on Feb. 25.

    An ambulance rushed Lewis to Rady Children's Hospital, a harrowing journey where his heart stopped twice. Both times he was revived by medics.

    "It's something that you see on medical television dramas and movies but it's not something that you can ever fathom experiencing," his mother Tia McWilliams told NBC 7.

    McWilliams and Lewis's father Mario watched doctors resuscitate their son.

    "It was something that I wouldn't wish on anyone. No one," Mario Lewis said.

    At the hospital, a cardiology team discovered signs of Myocarditis, a rare inflammation of the heart muscle. 

    Myocarditis can affect your heart muscle and the heart's electrical system, reducing your heart's ability to pump and causing arrhythmias. 

    Dr. Rakesh Singh, a Pediatric Cardiologist at Rady Children's Hospital, said Myocarditis attacks the heart "for reasons we don't understand."

    Both Lewis and his family were completely unaware that the teenager, who lived an active lifestyle and was otherwise healthy, had an underlying heart condition. 

    Lewis spent two weeks on life support before finally recovering enough to be able to walk and talk again. But the teen did miss his 15th birthday while connected to tubes.

    For the next few weeks, Lewis will wear what's called a life vest which is a special medical device that will serve as a defibrillator if his heart were to stop again.

    What Lewis is grateful for, though, is that he is now aware of his debilitating heart condition and able to share his story with others. He hopes what he has to say will be able to help other children and teenagers.

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