Boise teen's life changes after heart disease diagnosis
Tina Jensen reports. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Heart disease is the number one killer of women – more than all cancers combined.
It can affect anyone - and being young and healthy doesn’t make you immune.
At 18, Boise resident Megan Richy was the picture of physical health.
It was at basketball tryouts her senior year that she knew something wasn’t right.
“I just thought I was out of shape,” Richy said. “I thought I couldn’t breathe for some reason but something told me to just stop doing it. And then I passed out.”
Because of a family history of heart disease, her parents took her to a doctor to make sure it wasn’t anything serious.
First, there was an abnormal EKG.
Then the diagnosis: Arrhythmogenic RV Dysplasia.
It was heart disease.
“It was such a concerning, life-threatening position that we found that we implanted a pacemaker-like device called a defibrillator,” said Dr. David Hinchman, cardiologist at St. Luke’s. “It tracks an electrical system and monitors it like a paramedic following her around for the rest of her life.”
Hinchman says some young athletes in her position collapse because of an undiagnosed heart condition – and don’t wake up.
Experts say it’s important to follow-up on warning signs like shortness of breath and chest pain.