Experience with Spontaneous Malignant Hypertension
Nearly 11 years ago, Anthony Mercaldi (Tony to all that know him) started to experience extreme increases in his blood pressure and pulse for no apparent reason. After almost a year of tests and different combinations of medications, he suffered his 1st heart attack at the age of 22 on the eve of his son's 1st birthday. Less than a year later, he had his 2nd heart attack. At this time he had a team of 6 doctors in New York, New Jersey and California trying to figure out what was causing these problems and trying to keep him alive.
2 years passed and all possible tests were done one or more times, still no cause. It wasn't until one of his cardiologists was attending a World Summit on hypertension that another specialist in France had a similar patient. It was soon determined that Tony had Spontaneous Malignant Hypertension (SMH), an untreatable and incurable disease that no one understood due to its rareness.
There are rarely more than 4 living patients with SMH in the US annually making the disease incredibly hard to study and diagnose. The odds of having it are estimated at 1:60,000,000. The odds of being diagnosed are 5 times worse. Only 20% of people with SMH live more than 3 years after their 1st major episode.
During Tony's next year, he suffered another heart attack and a massive stroke that left his left side paralyzed for nearly 6 months. As his condition worsened, he was unable to do the most common tasks without help such as: get out of bed, drive, and even breathe.
Near what was assumed to be the end of his life, another doctor from Germany who heard about his case during the Summit, tracked Tony down to recommend gene therapy as a last resort. This experimental surgery had never been attempted on someone with his problems. The risk was great due to the fact that the surgery alters the strand of DNA that causes the particular problem, in this case control of the heart. The other problem is that then president George Bush would not approve of the techniques used for the surgery on humans, which made it an unapproved and elective surgery. Now Tony had to raise $24,000 up front to attempt to save his life.
Within a few months, the money was raised and the surgery was a success, however the results typically only last 2 ½ to 3 years. Tony had a 2nd surgery in 2009 and is now in dire need of another. President Obama has taken steps to seek approval from the FDA for the surgery. Advancements in medical science and technology have proven to offer a significant positive increase in mortality rate as well as length of the procedure's effects. However, Tony's time is running short. Between the bad economy and the lack of help from insurance, Tony has to raise $35,000 in a short amount of time and he can't do it alone.
Today all we ask is any change you can spare. No amount is too little because it will add up and is definitely appreciated. The sooner he has the procedure, the better the odds of survival. In the coming months, we will be holding a few fundraising events to help the cause. Any additional money raised will be donated to fund research on SMH and other heart disease. Any donations, such as raffle items, help with food, or any other service is greatly appreciated. Please email [email redacted] with all inquiries and offers.
Thank you for your time and support,
The Friends and Family of Anthony Mercaldi
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