FOR the last 20 years, Zimbabwean Margaret Mafuhure couldn’t even walk for 50 metres without experiencing heavy breathlessness and acute chest pain.
Thirty-six-year-old Margaret was initially diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension, a disorder where patients have high blood pressure in the arteries in their lungs.
Doctors in Zimbabwe began medication and expected a speedy recovery. However, despite going through extensive treatment, she had no relief.
“Every doctor I visited prescribed the same medicines every time. But the medicines were not solving my problem.
“Breathlessness continued to haunt me day and night. With every passing day, I got more and more frustrated with my condition,” said Margaret.
In January this year, someone advised her to visit India to seek expert advice on her condition.
However, it was only in October that she finally decided to opt for treatment at Delhi’s Max Hospital.
When she arrived in Delhi, doctors again diagnosed her with primary pulmonary hypertension.
“I got worried. Even after coming to India, no one was able to diagnose my actual problem,” she said.
That’s when the doctors decided to start from scratch. They found out that Margaret’s pulmonary artery pressure was 120 mmHG, when it should have been between 18 and 30 mmHG.
Medical tests later confirmed that she was actually suffering from a rare condition called isolated pulmonary artery stenosis.
“We carried out a CT scan of the lungs and angiography of the right side of her heart. We found out that branches of arteries going to the lungs were completely blocked.
“This blockage was not detectable in a cardiac echo,” said Dr Naveen Bhamri, associate director in cardiology department at Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.
According to the doctors, this disorder is commonly misdiagnosed, and hence mistreated. And if not corrected on time it can even prove to be fatal.
The key symptoms of this disorder are breathlessness, chest pain on exertion, fatigue, and swelling of the feet. These symptoms are often confused with those related to coronary artery disease, heart failure or lung disease.
Two days after the surgery, Margaret was discharged. The overall treatment cost her about Rs 1.5 lakh.
“Now, I am even fit to participate in a marathon. After being bothered by this disorder for 20 years, it is hard to believe that I have been relieved from the ailment,” a cheerful Margaret said.