23 August 2009

Pendulum heart cured by spine op

Koryn now stands two inches taller
A teenage girl whose heart was pushed to the wrong side of her body by a rare spine deformity has been cured by surgery.

Koryn McFadden, an 18-year-old nursery nurse from Corby, Northants, had scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.

The defect produced a pendulum effect where her heart was pushed three inches to the right.

Surgeons at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham say her heart should now stay in place following her operation.

Doctors discovered the problem in 2006 after Koryn had been in a car crash and damaged the vertebrae of her spine.

An x-ray showed up the curvature, which doctors said had been getting progressively worse for years.

Koryn said: "I feel like the car accident was fate - it was the only reason I found out about the scoliosis.

"I've always been fit and healthy so I was shocked when I saw the X-ray of my spine. At first I told the nurse she must have the X-rays mixed up."

Koryn's x-rays before (right) and after (left) the surgery
Although initially the scoliosis caused her no symptoms, with time it gave her daily pain and doctors were worried the curve was putting too much strain on her heart.

Koryn said: "I couldn't get out of bed and kept having to call in sick to work."

Last month Koryn had an eight-hour operation where surgeons inserted two 16 inch-long titanium rods and 10 metal pins into her spine.

Now Koryn stands straight and two inches taller and her heart is back in the right place.

Koryn said: "I feel about 10ft tall and my friends all love my new posture.

"I was absolutely petrified about having to go in for such a major operation, but it has been so worth it."

A spokeswoman for the Scoliosis Association said: "If scoliosis goes untreated, it will cause massive effects on heart function and reduce breathing capacity because the lungs are getting smaller."

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