18/04/2012 11:56 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Boy, 13, Has FIVE Heart Operations In A Year After Falling Off His Bike

Boy, 13, has FIVE heart ops in a year after falling off his bike Caters

A brave youngster is riding his bike again after an incredible FIVE open heart operations in just a year.

In fact, it was thanks to a fall from his bike that Keith Ssewamala, 13, is alive today.

He took a tumble while playing with friends back in 2008, which ended with Keith suffering chest pains and the discovery of an aneurysm on his heart.

Keith, from Brixton, South London, recovered after the aneurysm was successfully removed from his left ventricle - one of four chambers in the heart.

But that was only the start for the young man - he began coughing up blood and then terrifyingly started to lose his eyesight last year.

Keith was rushed to Evelina Children's Hospital after suffering a seizure.

He went on to undergo an incredible FIVE open heart surgeries and keyhole procedures in just a year.

Medics discovered Keith suffered from Takayasu arteritis - a condition that usually affects middle-aged women.

It's so rare in young boys the chances of developing it are a whopping 2,000,000 to one.

But now Keith is miraculously fighting fit and has even set up a foundation to help other children with heart problems.

He is hoping to tour schools and hospitals nationally to inspire others as well as pursuing his dream of becoming an actor.

He said: "I was really determined to fight this illness where most people might have given up, and now I feel better than ever.


I was not expecting to have five open heart operations in a year – one was bad enough – but I knew I could get through it and they were making me better.


Consultant paediatric cardiologist Professor Qureshi, who has been in charge of Keith's care, said: "Keith has been diagnosed with Takayasu arteritis - a rare form of heart disease that more frequently affects adult women, not young boys like Keith.

"It involves inflammation in the walls of the largest arteries in the body, the aorta and its main branches.

"It has taken four years to diagnose this rare condition but his condition continues to improve. Doctors at the Evelina performed the fifth, and what we hope will be the final, operation on Keith during February.

"He'll continue to receive treatment as an outpatient and will be back to his sporty activities in the near future."

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Source: Caters

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