A man who has lived his entire life with a heart protruding from his abdomen is finally able to walk upright without getting out of breath or turning blue. Huang Rongming, from Henan province in China, underwent life-changing surgery to correct heart a defect and move the organ away from his abdomen and into his ribcage.
He had lived with the rare condition for 24 years until a doctor told him his condition was rapidly deteriorating and that he required urgent surgery.
Congenital heart displacement is incredibly rare and occurs in just five babies out of every million born. Most patients die soon after birth.
Mr Rongming could not afford the procedure that would place his heart in his chest as it should be, but media coverage of his condition enabled him to undergo to life-changing operation.
‘It’s a dream come true. I’m going to lead a normal life like everyone else,’ he told ChinaDaily.
Before surgery, Mr Rongming’s heart could clearly be seen pumping underneath a thin layer of skin and bulging out from his upper belly.
When Mr Rongming was born, doctors did not think he would survive, as his protruding heart had defects and was vulnerable to injury. His parents admitted they were anxious when he was a boy and said that he was not allowed to play with other children for fear that he would die.
The condition made the young Mr Rongming vulnerable to breathlessness and turning blue if he stood up as well as sudden death if his heart was knocked.
Earlier this year he sought treatment at Wuhan Union Hospital. His doctor, Dong Nianguo, a cardiac surgeon at the hospital, was astonished that he was still alive. Tests showed Huang’s condition was deteriorating rapidly, and he needed immediate surgery, which could cost about 200,000 yuan.
Huang’s story attracted considerable media coverage and within six days of his story being reported, he received all the money he needed from kind readers.
The surgery lasted more than 10 hours and was entirely successful. His abdomen is now flat and his heart defect fixed. Mr Rongming said: ‘I am now normal, thanks to the many kind souls’.