Prince Pratt had shortness of breath in middle school, whether moving between classrooms, climbing stairs, or working out. Reggie, his father, merely believed that his kid was idle.
Reggie started including Prince in his workouts as a result. In Olney, Maryland, which is a part of greater Washington, D.C., they ran trails behind their home. They performed additional aerobic workouts, such as jumping rope.
Reggie reported that Prince became exhausted, groused a lot, and coughed. One day after playing basketball, Prince had difficulties breathing. "I was like," 'C'mon, you can do more.'" He was taken to a neighboring hospital by his mother, Christiana, where pneumonia was determined to be his condition. His lungs eventually gave up.
After being flown to Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., where after thorough testing, medical professionals identified the root of all of his issues, including his years-long respiratory difficulties and weight gain. Heart issue mitral valve stenosis was identified as the cause.
One of the four heart valves, the mitral valve, narrows and limits blood flow through the heart or into an artery, causing that disease. Breathlessness, a buildup of fluid in the lungs, and even cardiac arrest may result from it.
Reggie remarked, "That's the first we've heard of it." Since neither of their families had a history of heart disease, he and Christiana were confused.
Doctors believe that Prince's heart problem was gradually brought on by an untreated strep throat infection he had as a newborn.
Several million cases of strep infection in kids occur each year. Antibiotics are a simple treatment for it. However, strep can result in rheumatic fever, which can irreversibly harm heart valves if it goes undetected. Rheumatic heart disease is what it is.
Prince was given antibiotics and had his heart closely watched by a cardiologist. The Pratts were informed that Prince might someday require a heart valve replacement or surgery.
At age 16, Prince experienced such a period. His breathing had gotten worse, and he was beginning to tire more easily. His cardiologist was worried that if nothing was done, the teen might experience cardiac failure.
Prince underwent surgery in December of last year. The mitral valve was intended to be repaired, but instead an artificial one was implanted.
According to Reggie, who added that it was an emotional moment for him, Prince had a lot of anxiety before the operation. When he understood he would be OK, things "truly shifted."
He had to relearn how to walk and breathe in order to widen his lungs, so his recuperation was still challenging.
Prince received the all-clear to resume cardiac activity in a matter of months. He lost roughly 30 pounds in a year, mostly as a result of working out with his father.
After his surgery, Prince believes he has been granted a second chance at life.
Prince, who is now 18 years old, is a freshman studying mass communication and advertising at Towson University outside of Baltimore. He's focused on being independent and leading a healthy lifestyle while living in a dorm.
Prince will require daily doses of aspirin, penicillin, and an anticoagulant for the rest of his life to prevent blood clots on the valve. He conducts routine blood tests at home and sends the results to his doctor using a mobile app.
Due to the possibility of harming the valve or causing internal bleeding, he is still unable to play contact sports, but he engages in many other activities. When he works out, his father will occasionally make the 90-minute drive from his house to join him.
Both a father and a son are dedicated to spreading awareness of rheumatic heart disease.
Prince remarked, "What happened to me could happen to anyone." If your child is ill, always check in with a doctor to make sure it's not something serious because you never know what kind of discomfort an infant is experiencing at that age.