Doctors have uncovered a medical mystery in Albuquerque after learning a man shared the same heart problems with dozens of his loved ones.
It may be the longest genetic link cardiologists have ever seen.
A normal heart beats 70 times a minute, keeping blood flowing throughout the body. Alfredo Hernandez’s heart was anything but normal, however.
“I actually walked into the ER with a heart rate of about 20 beats per minute,” said Hernandez. “It was surprising I walked in.”
For years, Hernandez was in and out of surgery at Albuquerque hospitals. No doctors could figure out why his heart would slow down or suddenly speed up.
And he wasn’t alone; his relatives were having the same troubles.
“My mother, her siblings had pacemakers,” he said.
He eventually met up with Dr. Michelle Khoo, a cardiologist, who wanted to work with Hernandez to figure out what was work.
Khoo realized that he and more than 30 percent of his family members all carried the same dominant gene that was making their hearts sick, something the medical world hardly ever sees.
“The description of this family is creating a buzz in the genetic world,” said Khoo.
Currently the only cure is a heart transplant. Doctors all over the country are now studying the case of Hernandez and his family.
Hernandez recently got a heart transplant at the University of Colorado Hospital and is now healthy.
“I feel very proud of (him),” said Khoo.
Now Hernandez is on a mission to remind his family members to get tested and treated before it’s too late.