Even as a kid, Aaron Hollifield noticed he always had trouble exercising and playing sports.
"At first, I thought it was just because I was lazy," he says. Now 23, Hollifield knows there was a deeper, more problematic reason: His heart didn't have sufficient room to beat, meaning it couldn't pump blood efficiently.
The Memphis resident suffered from a rare congenital condition known as Pectus Excavatum, or concavity of the chest wall. It's a disorder — affecting perhaps one of every 400 male Caucasians — that gives the chest a caved-in appearance and, in severe cases, can impair heart and lung functions. For Hollifield, it resulted in a rapid, shallow pulse.
But new therapies and surgeries have been made available locally to correct the problem.