It took three years before the Taranaki teen was diagnosed with Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) – an abnormally rapid heart rhythm.
Normally a heart beats between 50 to 180 times a minute. With SVT there are periods when it can beat between 150 and 250 times aminute. For Tristan, now 13, when it comes on he feels dizzy, his heart starts to race, he loses sensation in his hands and can faint. At one point this year he fainted five times within two weeks. ‘‘I could be walking to class and feel a heart rush and just have to excuse myself from class and go to the matron." Earlier this year Tristan was in a mountain bike race and felt his heartbeat start to race and knew something was about to happen. He stopped, put his bike down passed out, came to, got back on the bike and finished the race fourth. ‘‘He was more gutted that he got fourth than what actually happened,’’ his dad Darryl said. Tristan’s family want to get his heart complications sorted soon because once he starts driving if he has an episode he can’t drive for at least 12months. Tristan has had a heart monitor implanted to look for particular rhythms to try and find out which chamber the problem is occurring in and hopefully fix it, Darryl said. ‘‘The hardest thing is they don’t know what brings it on, but they are starting to hurt more. He just wants to be a normal kid.’’ Despite coming to terms with his own heart condition, Tristan, who attends Francis Douglas Memorial College, decided to raise money for charity Heart Kids by riding his mountain bike around the track at Lake Mangamahoe for six hours. Heart Kids provides support to families of children who suffer from a congenital heart defect – about one child in every 100 born in New Zealand. Tristan’s goal is to raise $2000. Darryl said he was extremely proud of his son for wanting to do this for others. ‘‘To explain it to Tristan we went online to show him other kids that have these sorts of issues, which didn’t really help. We came across the Heart Kids page which upset him because all of a sudden there’s all these kids, younger than him, worse off than him. They’ll never be able to do what Tristan can do."
Created on: 15 November 2019