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Birmingham man climbs Mount Kilimanjaro after heart surgery

A 42-year-old man from Birmingham has climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro just three years after having triple bypass heart surgery.

Pratap Mekapothu was an active and healthy person but one day he felt ill after running and was stunned when tests revealed he had cardiac disease at such a young age.

Pratap said,

‘I thought I was the picture of health. I was active and fit, never experiencing any health issues until one day while running, I suddenly felt short of breath. After undergoing various tests, I was shocked to learn that I needed to undergo triple heart bypass surgery.’

He had to have the emergency lifesaving surgery at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and despite feeling daunted about having the procedure; Pratap says he received excellent care and support from staff at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS  Foundation Trust. Six days after being discharged from the hospital, Pratap started walking and slowly regained his energy.

He started hiking and cycling 50-100 miles every week and then decided on a bigger challenge – to raise money by trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.

Pratap has already raised over £1,000 of his £1,200 target on JustGiving to help raise awareness of the importance of timely diagnosis. 

Unrecognised cardiac disease is one of the most common health problems in young patients, more so for Asian people.

Consultant at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Shivanand Cavan said:

‘I am immensely proud of Pratap’s fantastic achievement reaching the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro within three years of triple bypass heart surgery at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Being a very close friend of Pratap, it was shocking to know he had severe coronary artery disease at such a young age, with almost no symptoms to warn him. When he mentioned casually about some chest discomfort, I didn’t think it would be anything serious but suggested that he get himself checked out; that small conversation turned out to be life saving for him. “

Photo: Pratap Mekapothu