What was thought to be indigestion, following 16-year-old Jess Smith's complaint of pains in her chest, turned out to be a rare infection which caused her heart to fail.
She had to be rushed into emergency where she underwent an open heart surgery.
An otherwise happy and healthy teenager had suffered a heart attack, and experts feel this might have been due to an infection she picked up a year ago, when she had her ears pierced.
Diagnosed with endocarditis, a rare infection of the heart, she needed an emergency open heart surgery to replace her heart valves.
In the critical 24 hours that followed after her operation, she suffered another heart attack. She had to remain in the hospital for seven weeks. She is now on the heart transplant waiting list.
Jess said, : 'At first I thought it was indigestion. I went back [to the doctors], thinking it was a chest infection. I couldn't believe it when they said it was my heart. You expect your older relatives to suffer from heart attacks, not people my age.'
Endocarditis is caused by a bacterium that gains entry into the blood during injections, piercings or brace fittings and normally only affects people over 50.