An Orange County teenager is hospitalized with a rare heart condition
An Orange County teen is hospitalized after suddenly developing a rare heart condition that some doctors say is increasingly affecting younger people.
Nolan Yearot, a 15-year-old student-athlete at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa, was feeling well the day before he became seriously ill.
“He was doing well,” said Kevin Yearot, Nolan’s father. “(He was) looking forward to baseball.”
Kevin said he was initially told that the flu was spreading around the school campus at the time Nolan became ill.
“We took him to the pediatrician and that was the first time I heard him complain that his heart hurt,” Kevin said.
Nolan was initially sent home, but then his heart started to hurt badly.
He was later diagnosed with myocarditis, a rare and serious condition that involves inflammation of the muscle layer in the heart wall.
“Myocarditis can weaken the heart and its electrical system,” according to the American Heart Association. “As a result, the heart’s ability to pump blood decreases.”
Nolan’s heart was failing so rapidly, he entered the intensive care unit three weeks ago and was on life support at one point.
“It was an unbelievable nightmare,” Kevin said. “No one should have to go through that. If we had known his heart was hurting, we would have certainly pushed to make sure they were checking him more and following up on him but you never know. It feels like the flu.”
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot we don’t know about myocarditis,” said Dr. Omid Fatemi, a cardiologist at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Ventura.
However, Fatemi notes that there has been an uptick in cases of myocarditis in males ages 12 to 40, although the origin of each case remains mostly unknown.
“It comes from many different reasons,” Fatemi explained. “Most of the time, we don’t know why, but when we do, we think it’s due to some kind of virus.”
Fatemi advises anyone who may be experiencing any heart-related symptoms to treat the problem immediately.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some common symptoms include:
- Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Shortness of breath at rest or during activity
- Dizziness or feeling like you might faint
- Flu-like symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pain, fever, or sore throat
The Nolan family hopes that by sharing the teen’s story, it may help others get a diagnosis before experiencing a similar nightmare.
So far, the teen’s family said they have received good news and that Nolan is recovering well.
“He’s a tough kid,” Kevin said. “He’s dealing with it. It’s what’s going on and he’s progressing and we’re trying to stay positive.”
Although he is still in hospital, his family said they hope they will be able to return home soon.
A GoFundMe page set up to help the Nolan family with medical expenses can be found here.