(FOX 9) - On Feb. 29 Becker High School junior Brayden Weber collapsed on the mat at the Minnesota State High School wrestling tournament. Three months later he was diagnosed and treated for a heart condition doctors say doesn’t typically show up in screenings.
“I had an episode during my match where I was wrestling and I just collapsed,” Weber said.
Medics at the Excel Energy Center used an automated external defibrillator to get his heart rate back to normal. When FOX 9 interviewed him at the hospital the next day, doctors still weren’t sure what caused his heart abnormality or why he collapsed.
Further testing done by Children’s Hospital found that he had a condition called Atrioventricular Nodal Reentry Tachycardia or AVNRT. Because of coronavirus, it would be several more weeks before he could see a specialist at Mayo Clinic who could treat the problem.
“You don’t want to hear that when you’re 17 years old and you feel like you’re healthy and all that stuff you’ve been playing sports your whole life,” Weber said.
On Thursday doctors at the Mayo Clinic did a non-invasive procedure using a catheter to find, isolate, and “get rid of” the part of his heart causing the abnormality.
Doctor Bryan Cannon, a pediatric cardiologist at Mayo Clinic, who performed the procedure on Brayden, describes his condition as a “short circuit” in the heart causing it to act normally except when it’s having an episode. This makes his condition more difficult to screen for.
He says as many as one in 500 people have this kind of heart condition.
“This is one of the conditions where it would not have been picked up by ECG screening, MRI screening, echocardiographic screening,” Dr. Cannon said.
Dr. Cannon says there are three main age groups where this heart condition could start to prevent itself: when babies are newborns, when kids are around the ages of four or five, or during adolescence, between the ages of 13 and 17.
Since it can be hard to detect who might be living with this kind of heart condition, Dr. Cannon says there are a few warning signs to look for. He says if you pass out while exercising, pass out randomly or experience severe chest pain you should see a doctor. He also says sudden changes in heart rate can be a warning sign.
Often times though, during high-intensity activities, like in Brayden’s case, there are little to no warning signs.
“That’s why it’s important to have AEDs immediately available and fortunately Brayden had one immediately,” Dr. Cannon said.
Dr. Cannon says for the kind of heart condition Brayden had the procedure done at Mayo Clinic should be a permanent fix. After two weeks of rest, Brayden should be able to get back to playing sports at full speed.
“It’s definitely taught me to be more patient and appreciate life day by not taking life for granted because I mean it can change in an instant,” Brayden said.