Grandfather discovers heart condition thanks to children’s museum exhibit

Posted at 10:59 AM, Feb 21, 2019

GRAHAM, N.C. -- A North Carolina grandfather discovered a heart condition while at a children's museum with his grandson, according to WGHP.

On Jan. 14, Boyd Hudson and his grandson, Andrew, were enjoying a day at the Children’s Museum of Alamance County.

Four-year-old Andrew was playing with foam blocks, his favorite area of the museum, when something else caught his attention.

He was intrigued by the Listen to Your Heart exhibit, which helps children understand the heart and its rhythmic pumping through a drum beat.

A person puts his or her hands on the display, and the drum beat simulates that person’s heartbeat.

After Andrew placed his hands on the exhibit, he asked his grandfather to try it.

Hudson put his hands on the display and quickly knew something was wrong.

“I'm a respiratory therapist. I've been at Duke Medical Center for more than 20 years, and as soon as I saw it, I'm thinking, 'I'm in AFib,'” Hudson said.

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke or even heart failure.

Hudson returned to the museum the next day to have an employee film a video of the exhibit in action so he could show his doctor.

The doctor confirmed his suspicion: he was experiencing AFib.

Even with Hudson’s medical experience, the diagnosis was a surprise.

“I had not had any chest pain. I had felt fatigued, I was tired a lot, but I had attributed that to obstructive sleep apnea,” he said.

The Listen to Your Heart exhibit has been at the Children’s Museum of Alamance County since October 2012.

“We're pretty proud of it. We never thought that something like this would happen,” said Michele Davis, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Alamance County.

Hudson calls this particular "boys' day" a blessing.

He is currently on blood thinners and scheduled to have an electrical cardioversion to reset his heart's rhythm.