Cheerleader tumbles with heart defect, encourages screening for athletes

Cheerleader tumbles with heart defect, encourages screening for athletes
(Source: KAIT)

(KAIT/NBC) - One routine checkup for a University of North Texas cheerleader led to a sobering diagnosis of a rare heart defect.

Skyler Sanders first started experiencing heart palpitations and shortness of breath in high school.

Dr. Faraz Kerendi heard a heart murmur during a check-up and soon diagnosed her with Atrial Septic Defect or ASD.

"An abnormal hole between the left and right atrium," said Dr. Kerendi. "Everybody has that at birth and they close shortly after birth."

Skyler's never did, in fact, she was in the 25 percent of children born with a heart defect who need heart surgery or other interventions to survive.

So, Dr. Kerendi closed the hole about eight months ago through non-invasive surgery.

The procedure done through her ribcage assured a faster recovery and little scarring.

Read more of Skyler's story by clicking here.

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