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Teenage girl who got 'butterflies' dancing with boy at prom discovers it was heart attack

Ali Condon

Published 
| Last updated 

Teenage girl who got 'butterflies' dancing with boy at prom discovers it was heart attack

Featured Image Credit: ceirrazeager/Instagram

When she was 14 years old, Ceirra attended her first school dance and felt butterflies when she got to dance with a boy.

Only, those butterflies weren't butterflies at all. It was actually a heart attack.

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At the hospital, Ceirra was told she was probably just suffering from 'teenage anxiety', and had to get a second opinion before she was told what had happened.

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Ceirra says she had always been pretty quiet in school, preferring to focus on her schoolwork than hanging out or playing sports, and keeping her social circle to just two close friends.

So, when she got the chance to dance with a boy at the school dance in 2014, she thought the feelings in her chest were normal - even though they continued long after the dance had ended.

The morning after prom, Ceirra's 'butterflies' sensation had transformed to a heaviness in her arm and narrowed vision.

"Before I knew it, I was on the floor," she told Insider.

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"It felt like an elephant was on my chest."

When her parents rushed her to the hospital, Ceirra was made to wait hours to be seen, despite the 'intense burning pain' in her arm, and was instead told she was likely dealing with 'teenage anxiety.'

Ceirra was told she was just suffering from 'teenage anxiety'. Credit: Instagram/@ceirrazeager
Ceirra was told she was just suffering from 'teenage anxiety'. Credit: Instagram/@ceirrazeager

She admitted: "It really broke me to hear that because I felt embarrassed that my whole family was there."

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Thankfully, though, Ceirra was told to visit a children's hospital for a second opinion just to be safe.

It was there that medics found a blockage in Ceirra's heart, and immediately sent her for a cardiac catheterisation procedure.

When she came around after surgery, Ceirra was met with the news that she had had a heart attack.

Ceirra had been born with a hole in her heart called a patent foramen ovale (PFO), which affects one in four people and is usually pretty harmless.

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But medics found that Ceirra had elevated lipoprotein A in her blood, which made her red blood cells 'extra sticky', causing a blood clot that was able to lodge in her coronary artery thanks to her PFO.

When Ceirra woke up from her surgery, she was told she'd had a heart attack. Credit: Instagram/@ceirrazeager
When Ceirra woke up from her surgery, she was told she'd had a heart attack. Credit: Instagram/@ceirrazeager

About seven years later, Ceirra had to undergo open-heart surgery after a cardiologist found that her 2014 heart attack had left her with a leaky heart valve.

She had to go through the intense procedure just months after her wedding.

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Now 23, Ceirra is doing a lot better and maintaining a health lifestyle, though her heart strength is still below average

According to the American Heart Association, a healthy ejection fraction ranges from 50 percent to 75 percent - Ceirra's is about 44 percent.

This likely means that Ceirra might not be able to safely get pregnant.

"Having that taken away from you as a woman is very, very hard," she said.

Ceirra is now urging women of all ages to 'listen to your body' and 'advocate for yourself' if something feels wrong.

Topics: Health

Ali Condon
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