Medical student Sravan Vemuri discovered he was in heart failure after performing a practice electrocardiogram (ECG) on himself at the age of 26. (Photo: UHN)

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When Sravan Vem​uri was in his third year of medical school in spring of 2019, he practiced doing an electrocardiogram (ECG) on himself during a cardiac clinic rotation.

The then 26-year-old put electrodes on his chest and noticed his results were oddly similar to those of a patient with longstanding heart disease.

An attending physician checked the machine and ran the test again.

"I was trembling," recalls Sravan of waiting through that second test.

The same results came back. The physician took him aside.

"I'm really sorry, but you're somehow in heart failure," the physician told the normally athletic student.

Shocked but determined to finish medical school, Sravan struggled with his worsening health. He was referred to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, where he received a pacemaker and was put on medications after his first appointment.

But by fall 2021, Sravan's heart failure had progressed significantly; shortness of breath made it difficult for him to walk more than a few steps.

Dr. Adriana Luk, advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist and Head of the Coronary Intensive Care Unit at the Peter Munk, told Sravan his medications were no longer effective in addressing his progressing heart failure, and he needed a heart transplant.

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