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Life on the brink of sudden unexplained death syndrome

Markizzo7 could drop dead at any moment, but in 12 seconds a device in his chest would shock him back to life.


Gaby Dunn


Posted on Oct 23, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 3:34 am CDT

Markizzo7 could drop dead at any moment, but in 12 seconds a device in his chest would shock him back to life.

The brave 21-year-old returned to Reddit to finish his Ask Me Anything thread about living with a heart problem that’s changed his life.

His condition is often called Brugada syndrome, and he said it’s a “genetic mutation of genes in the heart that, in turn, causes a Lethal arrhythmia. It strikes with no warnings, no pre cursor, no symptoms, other than a positive [electrocardiogram] (EKG) that shows the arrhythmia.” It’s the leading cause of unexplained death syndrome. 

He was diagnosed after a cardiology nurse ran an EKG. He only went to his doctor to adjust his Adderall prescription because the meds sometimes made him feel faint.

Markizzo7 first brought his situation to Reddit’s attention seven months ago, but he did not get a chance to answer a good portion of the questions readers had for him. Yesterday, he returned to raise awareness about the syndrome, which often overlooked until it’s too late.

So what is it like knowing your heart could stop at any moment?

“I just live day by day,” Markizzo7 wrote. “I don’t think about things as much as I used to… Not being able to ride roller coasters is pretty shitty though (seriously some bullshit). I would love to write you some crazy long explanation of change for the positive in my life… truth is I just appreciate life a little more.”

Markizzo7 lives with defibrillator implanted in his chest that calls to mind Tony Stark.

To implant it, he had to be awake, and doctors had to stop and restart his heart to check if the defibrillator was working. Markizzo described the process as brutal. In the end, he was told that the device will get its first workout sometime in the next year; his heart will suddenly stop for 12 seconds, and it will be up to the implant to kickstart him back to life.

In the thread, he compares himself to Super Mario: He can come back to life a few levels back and hit save to start where he left off.

One person asked Markizzo if he felt it was irresponsible of him to potentially have children if he could just up and die one day.

“I am going to have children regardless of what anyone thinks is responsible,” he responded. “If you were born with this burden, would you still appreciate having been born. I will love my children and that is enough to bring them into this world and feel that love. I will be a great father, just my father is an unbelievable selfless man. Thats how I intend to be.”

The difficult aspect of his condition appears to be the intense worrying it incites. He said that he’s had at least 50 instances where he thought he might be dying since he had the device put in.

“Heart palpitations are very scary for me,” he wrote. “I get a 30 minute spurt of heart palpitations 2-3 a month, where I think, ‘This might be it.’”

He’s promised to come back once a year and update Reddit on his condition.

Images via Imgur

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*First Published: Oct 23, 2013, 5:11 pm CDT