Teen’s persistent cough reveals Dextrocardia diagnosis after chest scan

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A woman has gone viral after visiting her doctor with a persistent cough – only for them to discover that her heart was located on the wrong side of her chest.

Claire Mack, 19, from Chicago, US, was coughing for two months straight – but only decided to get it checked out when she was in hospital for a tetanus shot in June this year.

She ended up having an x-ray, which revealed shocking results.

“I work in nightlife so I’m exposed to a lot of colds, and I got a bad one when things started opening up again two and a half months ago,” Claire, a student, told Jam Press.

“It was persistent and long lasting even with medication.

“I went to the ER at the end of June because I needed a tetanus shot after I cut myself on barbed wire, and I decided to have them check out my cough as well.”

Claire showed what dextrocardia looked like in her chest. Credit: @caremack/TikTok

The doctor found Claire was suffering from a lung infection and took an x-ray.

“She (the doctor) looked really shocked and told me ‘OK this is a bit weird but did you know your heart is on the right side of your chest instead of the left?’.

“I was so confused and started laughing because I honestly didn’t believe it.

“The doctor explained it is called dextrocardia and that I should inform my primary care doctor of my condition.

“I kept saying ‘what, are you serious?’ – I honestly was in shock and extremely confused as to how I didn’t know before I was 19 years old.”

Rare condition

Dextrocardia is a rare condition which is present at birth, in which the heart is pointed toward the right side of the chest rather than the left.

Less than 1 percent of the general population is born with the condition.

“My mum and dad were also in shock and extremely confused,” Claire said.

“My dad was really freaked out by it and my mum thought it was hilarious that I didn’t find out until now.

Claire Mack.
Claire Mack. Credit: Jam Press

“I hadn’t ever had a chest x-ray so there was no way to know that my heart is reversed.

“My primary care doctor did a check-up with me and said that my heart does beat louder on the right side – but obviously there’s no way you can diagnose dextrocardia from that alone.”

Claire took to TikTok to share her story, filming herself walking down the street with a caption explaining what had happened.

The post has been viewed 2.9 million times so far, racking up more than 400,000 likes – with viewers left baffled by the turn of events.

One person said: “How have you been alive that long and no one’s noticed?”

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“How did no dr catch this?” another stumped user asked. [sic]

Someone else commented: “I’m sorry but what, I didn’t even know that’s possible, does it happen often, this is the first time I’ve heard of this.”

“Oh my god they never noticed this at routine check-ups?!” another person asked.

One terrified user said it was a “new fear unlocked”, but other viewers said it was “so cool”.

Dextrocardia is usually not life-threatening and Claire doesn’t need any medical follow-ups at present, but will simply go on living with her heart on the wrong side.

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