A woman who went into cardiac arrest at just six years old was only diagnosed with the rare condition behind it after she was bitten by a tick more than two decades later.
Alexandra Wall, 33, of south-west London, lost control of her body while swimming at the beach as a young child and went into cardiac arrest in front of her panicked family.
Despite numerous tests, doctors were baffled by Ms Wall’s mysterious condition, with her being forced to live with heart palpitations for the next 24 years.
But in 2015, after a tick bite infected her with Lyme disease, Ms Wall met with a cardiologist who diagnosed her with Brugada syndrome.
Knowing she could go into cardiac arrest at any time, Ms Wall – who is now healthy – underwent multiple surgeries and was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator to regulate her heart beat.
Brugada syndrome disrupts the electrical impulses that keep the heart beating, which can lead to a very fast, life-threatening heart rate, according to the British Heart Foundation.
Its UK prevalence is unclear, however, it affects five in every 10,000 people in the US, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.